KISSMESS! by Jackie Fender

“KISSMESS!”

This “word” is exclaimed several times a day, sometimes half a dozen times in a moment these days by my two year old. She’s a precocious one. Wise beyond what her vibrant baby blues, stubby digits and Shirley Temple curls would lead you to believe. And she has discovered the Christmas spirit.

I can’t put my finger on the precise moment this happened, I think perhaps it’s just in her nature. She sings Happy Birthday jubilantly. Greets each of us at the door with pure unadulterated joy. She squeals with delight, as girls are expected to and last year, though tiny, she was enthralled with the dazzling displays at Zoolights.

This year she has a solid handle on the English language, though toddlerese-esque in execution, she loves the jolly, old, fat, bearded guy, not quite yet understanding the concept of the gifts he will bring come Christmas Day. Christmas trees, twinkling lights and reindeer, all of it makes her gasp and squeal, “KISSMESS!”

Even those with the Grinchiest green of hearts must soften with a sound full of such genuine glee. We grown-ups get caught up in the duties of executing the embodiment of the holiday spirit. We dutifully shop for consumer wares and wrap them to dazzle under an indoor tree accessorized and twinkling, lovely but overpriced. We stand in lines with fussy minis, dressed in their best and disheveled by the time they make the front of the line, sticky sweet half eaten candy cane sticking to their fresh pressed pants, carefully groomed curls now haphazard. These guys have it good! They adorn gingerbread men and gorge themselves with sweets while demanding the latest “it” items, which they will undoubtedly receive whether they’ve been naughty or nice. The big guy may know all but has a hard time denying those little beasts, it seems.

There is nothing better than being a kid during the holiday season, save for parenting one.

Because, the sincerity of “KISSMESS!” is about as good as it gets.