The kids spent Christmas Eve at their dad’s and then came home, just waiting to get to bed. They opened their Christmas pajamas (which I remembered to wrap just in time before they came back) and headed upstairs at 7:30. “You should close the door,” Graham said. So I did.
I think the real miracle of Christmas is kids volunteering to go to bed early and then staying in their room quietly.
That left me to do the dirty work. I felt under the weather, I’d woken up with the cold that Graham is recovering from, so I was extra tired.
I turned on Bing and Danny, made myself a hot toddy, and set to work. It was more than wrapping and assembling, there was also plenty of housework to do but I didn’t get much farther than tidying up the living room enough to make room for the new stuff.
It only took a couple hours to wrap the presents and fill the stockings. Then about an hour to assemble the new dollhouse. The assembly was not without hiccups. Nothing quite fit together right until it got screwed in. And even then, one piece of the roof has the pegs that go into the walls too wide-set to fit. I have no drill so for now the right roof is just kind of hanging on.
I got to bed around 10, not too bad, but still later than I wanted in my sick haze.
It was not terrible, it wasn’t even bad. It was just quiet. And while it wasn’t bad, I was acutely aware that this first year that I really get to do Christmas for my kids, I’m all alone. I’d always imagined it being different. Fun, funny, a little tipsy, with snacks and drinks and jokes. Just like the kids have waited for this day, I’ve waited for this night and it’s not quite what it was supposed to be. At least, not this year. But Bing and Danny were there, and it was familiar and I nibbled on Santa’s cookie and felt happy for the kids.
Those delightful children woke up at 6. In my sick state, I could’ve sworn it was around 3 a.m. I held them off for a bit, then went downstairs to get everything ready, grab a little breakfast, and make coffee.
The kids waited until they heard the music. Perhaps the happiest I got this whole season was finding the Christmas album we always listen to on Spotify so I could turn it on for the kids just like my mom still turns it on at their house. I got kind of misty as I turned it on and watched the kids come down the stairs.
Then I let them at it.
Since they were up before dawn, the light was less than ideal but we got by.
Given all the time they took to wrap and shop for, it took surprisingly little time to open them.
At the end of the day they each had a shirt, a book, two toys, a couple stocking stuffers, and the big house to share. Thanks to Grammy and their Auntie it even looked kind of bountiful when all was said and done. And even a few presents can leave wrapping paper for days.
I’d planned to start a new tradition with Christmas breakfast. This was a ridiculous idea. I was tired and feeling like death so the kids ate jelly beans and Pez for breakfast and couldn’t have been happier. I’m thinking this is a tradition worth keeping. At least it gets me off the hook for a while.
It only took a few minutes for Graham to request television, insist he wasn’t in the mood to play with his toys, didn’t want to read his book, and then finally chill and start actually playing.
Christmas magic for my kids is all about the anticipation, I think. Christmas morning was not filled with talk of Santa the way the last few days have been. Graham asked to turn the music off. There were no pronouncements of the magic and joy and wonderful toys. They were a lot like they usually are. I admit, I expected a little more from them given the excitement of the last few days.
Parenting these two is a lot about learning the same lessons over and over again, expecting them to be something else and then remembering who they are. Maybe I’ll figure that out eventually.
Right now it’s barely past 9 am and it already feels like we’ve been up for eternity. I have caved and let them watch television, but am restricting it to holiday movies.
Soon they’ll head over to their dad’s house and tomorrow they’ll be off to visit family for a week. Even though it’s Christmas I’m still feeling the weariness of having them in the house for 5 nights in a row, my fuse shortened as it usually is after I have them for a stretch (especially one that had Tessa home every day since day care is out for the week and Graham at school just one day).
But it was still worth it, it was still nice, it was still a new Christmas just for us. Merry merry to all of you, too.