We made it! We survived Christmas! There were times over the last 4 days when I had severe doubts, when I wholeheartedly believed someone in my family would not make it. I didn’t know who, but it seemed inevitable in the charged, unstable atmosphere that one of us would careen over the edge. But we didn’t. We came out on the other side, and we are stronger for it.
Given the three day lead up to the big event was a bit intense, the day itself went off remarkably well if a little too early. At precisely 5:22 a.m. Crazy crept into our bedroom and woke us up to see if it was time to wake us up. The night before we had specifically instructed Crazy that we wouldn’t rise before our coffee had brewed, which should not occur before 5:30 a.m., and showed him the button he needed to press to brew it.
Crazy insisted he wasn’t waking us. He was just inquiring as to whether he could check to see if Santa had come.
Kevin mumbled something incoherent, which Crazy took as a yes, and darted out of the room. Kevin grumbled and rolled over, trying to drift back to sleep. I, though, lifted my head from the pillow and in the quiet dark of the early morning strained to hear.
That moment, that one, brief, sublime moment, is what it’s all about. The moment when life is temporarily suspended, and we experience all the wide-eyed wonder, the unbridled excitement, the pure exuberance of childhood before everything abruptly returns to normal. That is my Christmas gift, and I’ll take it whenever it comes.
By 5:23 Crazy was back, scrambling onto our bed. ”Santa came! He came! There’s a lot of presents under the tree.” He wasn’t waking us this time either. He simply needed to know what wrapping paper Santa used since Santa sometimes likes to borrow our paper to wrap his gifts. Crazy was desperate to determine which of the presents were for him.
Kevin reminded him it wasn’t yet time and told him to wait until the clock read 5:30, at which point he could start the coffee. When he heard the coffee maker beep at the completion of the brewing process, he could come get us. The house got quiet for the next seven minutes as Crazy patiently watched the clock tick down to the appointed time. It must have nearly killed him, but he did it.
At 5:35 he bounded back into our room for the final time. With the coffee steaming in the pot, we rose, one of us bleary-eyed and groggy the other smiling and fully alert on a few hours sleep.
In a matter of minutes it was all over, but the kids had gotten their cherished gifts, and I had gotten mine.
I couldn’t possibly be up the earliest. What time did your kids wake you? If you beat 5:22 a.m. you win the title of Best Parent.