Thursday, December 26, 2013

Motherhood and More: It's finally here*

It’s Christmas again, and much like the rest of the adults, I’m wondering where in the world the year has
gone. It seems like just last week when I was celebrating New Year 2013 by going to bed at 10:30 p.m.

But to my children, this Christmas took ages and ages to get here, even with the daily countdown my son has been doing for the past few weeks.

“Thirteen more days until Christmas! Nine more days! Five more days!”

It doesn’t help that we have a pretty awesome wooden Advent Calendar from the kids’ great-grandparents in Germany that every year is stocked with chocolate or small gifts. My son has lost a lot of sleep by waking up at 5 a.m. every morning wanting to see what he’s gotten. We force him to go back to bed but the stubborn kid won’t sleep.

I can’t blame him, really. He got that aspect of his personality from me. I’m an early riser, and on Christmas morning I am a super-ridiculously-early riser. My sister has fond memories of me yelling at her to wake up already; Santa Claus came and Mom and Dad won’t let me open my presents until after you get up! They did that on purpose, of course, because they knew how hard it is to wake her up and so they’d get a few extra minutes of sleep while I tried to shove my sister out of bed.

Smart parents.

My son is just as excited about celebrations and holidays as I am, which is good because traditions mean a lot in our family.

And Christmas, to me, is lasagna and fried chicken, and early mornings and singing carols. It’s cookies and eggnog and entirely too many sweets. It’s waiting until after dinner to open presents at the family gatherings, which I suspect is just to torture children.

And it’s also crab cakes at my in-laws and shrimp salad and wine and German cookies.

It’s my husband complaining about the fact that I make him do stocking stuffers, and then putting the biggest gift in the stocking when everyone knows that’s the place for random junk and chocolate.

It’s attempting to discuss with my kids the true meaning of the season.

It’s laughter and family and hoping for snow. It’s knitting last-minute gifts that will probably not be finished in time, and maybe, possibly trying to sew something. It’s wanting to make handmade ornaments with the kids but not getting around to it because of all of the knitting.

It’s coffee and pie and cinnamon rolls and probably more coffee because I’ve stayed up too late trying to finish what needs finishing. It’s waiting until after Christmas Eve at my in-laws to wrap any of the kids’ gifts, which means that sleep is a luxury I don’t get as I will be woken up at 4:30 in the morning by an excited little boy and a little girl who is just starting to feel all the anticipation.

It’s staring at Christmas lights in silence.

It’s extra long hugs and taking time to reflect on what means the most in my life.

Merry Christmas. It took ages and ages to get here.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on December 25, 2013.  

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