Clearly, if the CEO of Jedi Mama, Inc. doesn’t come into work and get a Christmas post up, it’s going to just be January, and then who on earth wants to see snapshots of children gathered ’round ye olde Christmas tree? All anyone really wants to see in January is an easy-to-follow, day-by-day schedule for decluttering the house, as you read all about how you’ll organize the silverware drawer on Tuesday, tackle the coat closet on Wednesday, drink a smoothie made out of kale and turnips on Thursday, while you clean your bathroom vents, and sort through all your bathroom cupboards, tossing ancient makeup into the trash, on Friday.
(For the record, I’ve already pinned such a schedule on Pinterest.)
(For the record, it’s mostly just for my reading enjoyment, and not really anything that I’ll stick to. Once the silverware drawer gets sorted out on Tuesday, the coat closet is just going to look like an awful lot of work, and THERE GOES THE RESOLUTIONS ALREADY.)
(For the record, the kale and turnip smoothie was never even a possibility of happening at my house, because KALE and also TURNIP.)
On Christmas Eve morning, Thing 2 woke up at 1:30, wondering if it was time to open presents yet. I used my softest, gentlest Mary Poppins / Maria Rainer voice to assure him JUST A LITTLE LONGER, and then I tucked that child right back into his bed…
… right before I may have insisted that children who get up in the middle of the night don’t get presents, and maybe they are even sent to live with the Grinch, in his cave atop the mountain.
By 3:00 AM, we were all just exhausted heaps, when Thing 2 finally fell asleep. I crawled back into bed to hear Hubs ask in a disoriented, sleep-filled voice, “Was he awake? How long was he up for?”
I took five enormous, calming breaths… in through the nose… out through the mouth… and rechanneled Mary Poppins and Maria Rainer, as I whispered, “Not long, honey. Hush now. Go back to sleep.”
Which is exactly what Hubs did.
Later on Christmas Eve morning, I recapped the story for Thing 2 of how he came into our lives. I told him about the phone call we got on December 24th, four years earlier, when our friend and attorney, Deb, was prompted by the Holy Spirit to call us, concerning a young pregnant gal who had a baby to place for adoption, and how this was an absolute miracle, because the boy had been praying for exactly that. I told Thing 2, “Miss Deb wanted to know if we wanted a little baby named Thing 2, and I jumped up and down and screamed with excitement, ‘Yes! Yes! We sure do!'”
And then I asked him, “Did you want to come live with me when you were a tiny baby?”
Thing 2 looked at me and said, “Not really.”
And that, y’all, kind of ended the magic of retelling his birth story to him this Christmas Eve.
By noon, Hubs and I had been asked fourteen-point-nine million times, “WHEN are we opening presents? When? When? WHEEEEENNNNN???” I figured that it was surely time to burn some energy off, so I loaded Thing 2 into my Suburban, to take him to my gym at school. I pulled out scooters and bouncy balls and yarn balls and basketballs; I cranked the music on LOUD over the big speakers, and I told Thing 2 to, “Run! Run like the wind! RUN AND RUN AND RUN, LITTLE MAN!!”
He wasted no time whatsoever, and ran approximately five marathons over the course of two hours.
When I brought him back home at 2:00, he was CALM, with all capital letters. His eyes were also a little glazed over, as he asked for a nap, which I firmly denied him.
I think it’s in Proverbs… “He who insists upon waking his mother for a couple of hours in the middle of the night shall remain awake all day, anticipating the luxury of sleep, come evening.”
My side of the family all showed up at 3:00 on Christmas Eve afternoon, for a giant pot of homemade chicken noodle soup, which I’d thrown into the crockpot bright and early that morning.
You know, since I was already awake at BRIGHT AND EARLY O’CLOCK.
Since the anticipation of PRESENTS! PRESENTS! PRESENTS! was in the air, I made the cousins all sit together on my living room sofa for a picture. Cousin K is his daddy’s boy, which means he ruins every single snapshot I take of him, just like his dad does, by either crossing his eyeballs or quietly pushing one finger up inside his nose. On Christmas Eve, I let Cousin K know that if the picture didn’t turn out SWEET and ANGELIC, he could take his gift home to open IN. THE. MORNING.
(Also? He who has glass windows in his own home shouldn’t throw rocks at the dirty windows owned by others. I’d make a bunch of excuses for you, but I think we all know that it boils down to THREE YEAR OLD… IN THE HOUSE. And that three year old is famous for sitting on the back of the sofa to survey the happenings outside in the cul de sac. He’s a spy, who enjoys reporting back to me about all the fun the neighbor kids are having outside, while he’s stuck inside, pressing his nose against the glass.)
(I think the January Decluttering List has CLEAN YOUR WINDOWS listed during the second week of organizing. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it after I get that silverware drawer tidied up, but my guess is that I’ll be completely worn out by then, and the windows will remain hideous for another year.)
The kids FINALLY got to their Christmas Eve presents, and no one wasted any time at all ripping the paper off.
Thing 2 opened some Big Hero 6 action figures.
… a book.
This is sad, because reading is the boy’s VERY LEAST FAVORITE THING to do in the entire universe. He loathes reading. He only reads the sentences that are assigned to him in class, and even then it’s a total nightmare on my part to get him through his chapters, as I continually ask, “Did you read your English assignment tonight?”
But… for some reason… the kid loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, so he got the newly-released one.
I can’t say that he was thrilled to have that be his LONE Christmas Eve gift, but he was a tiny bit glad to have it.
… is there any teenage girl cuter than Cousin L?
No. No, there is not. She’s adorable and kind and sweet and precious. Plus, she never crosses her eyeballs for family photos or pretends to pick her nose. That alone makes her my favorite!
No one in their right mind would ever get Thing 2 and ink pad.
It would be like giving him a bazooka, because an ink pad, in our preschooler’s hands, could become a house-ruining weapon of mass destruction. But Little H is gentle and good and full of sugar and spice; it would never occur to her to use her ink pad for anything except her princess stamps.
Afterward, Thing 2 and Little H fought like rabid wolverines over that pink and purple ink pad. There was a tug-o’-war and unkind words. There were a few well-placed smacks alongside the head, a kick, and tears a-plenty.
In the end, the ink pad had to be taken away by grownups, which was the exact moment that Little H glared at Thing 2 and declared, “Thanks a lot! You just ruined Christmas for me!!!”
Little H is NEVER dramatic.
Thankfully, it was time for my boys to get dressed for our church’s Christmas Eve service. I made them cuddle together in front of the fireplace for a picture, but Thing 2 was still filled with anger and disgust over the ink pad war, so he refused to smile or look sweet.
In other words, we had us some REAL LIFE on Christmas Eve, y’all, instead of the perfectly-behaved children that I had envisioned for family photos before the fireplace, right before we headed out the door to celebrate our Savior’s birth.
This was THE VERY BEST snapshot that I managed to pull off of our boys together that evening.
Later, after a very tender, sweet evening at church, we came home. Mam and Pa came back over to our house, because Thing 2 insisted that Mam was going to be the one to rock him to sleep on Christmas Eve.
Naturally, Mam didn’t mind at all, especially since it took her exactly EIGHTEEN SECONDS to get that small fry of ours to sleep.
Christmas Eve, after being awake in the middle of the night and running marathons at the gym and opening gifts and cage fighting with his cousin over an ink pad and holding his very own candle in church, had worn our child out.
Eighteen seconds after she sat down in the rocking chair in Thing 2’s bedroom with him in her lap, he had visions of sugarplums dancing in his head.
We chalked it up as a Christmas Eve WIN.
And then, with both of our boys in bed… Hubs and I sat on the sofa together and admired our very simple tree this year. I know that Instagram was lit up this month with Christmas trees lavishly decorated with porcelain ornaments and a million lights and garlands and bling, but ain’t none of them had to endure the tornado that is Thing 2.
We went with simple lights and purple, CARDBOARD-BASED snowflakes.
And? I think it was absolutely lovely.
Hubs and I talked about sitting there all night, sipping wine together, while our boys were asleep, but listen…
… THIS HAPPENED:
But, it’ll go down as a very special Christmas Eve. Our family was together. We were together, and we were filled with love, except for that small space in time when the two young ‘uns wanted to throttle one another over ownership of an ink pad.