This is the first Advent that I can recall every child clamoring (well, except for the baby) to buy each other presents with their own money. Maggie gently cradled her piggy bank in her arms as we walked into Michael's where she refused my crafty idea of buying large letters and painting them for her sister's wall, but instead used a 40% off coupon (we keep a stash of them in the van) to purchase a black velvet coloring poster with unicorns. Mary bought all her siblings enormous bars of chocolate, and Will found army men at the dollar store for his little brothers. But Charlie was the sweetest of them all when he wrapped up one of his stuffed animals and enclosed $1 on top for his oldest sister.
This spirit of loving and selflessness is one I treasure and what I hope will bloom into many acts of love and mercy for one another their entire lives. Sisters helping sisters with new babies, brothers giving each other a hand in friendship. A tiny glimpse of perfection in the daily grind of changing nasty nappies and correcting children is sometimes all that is needed to give one the purpose to continue on.