"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It comes and goes so quickly

And I'm left marveling at the hoopla that builds up to such a small span of time.  There really is a whole lotta "extra" surrounding the true meaning of Christmas, isn't there?

We're no different.

But, just as hunger is the best seasoning to food, so is anticipation to Christmas morning and I'm pretty sure we couldn't go wrong no matter how hard we tried.

What I found this year, however, was that the most precious gifts to a mom come in the form of that which can't be bought.  The fun, the excitement, the faces, and the sheer joy of being together.

But gift giving is nice, too.

I asked for one gift.  To be early enough to church to sit on a soft bench and listen to the Christmas program with nothing but pleasantness all around and not one cross word uttered.  It was a Christmas miracle. Stockings early and then an eager hop-to to get ready and out the door.  Everyone agreed that they loved getting dressed and on our way to soak in the true spirit of Christmas.  In the end, it made coming home to brunch and opening presents more relaxed and enjoyable. I wish we could do this every year as it was the best gift ever.

On my way through the church doors, I greeted dear friends and parents of nine children grown and gone. I asked if she had family in town and she said they'd come for Thanksgiving so all was quiet at her house.  For those brief hours, I sat with my children around me and forced time to stand still.

And just for a moment ... it did.

I asked Eliza to show me what Santa had left her.  Perfect toe pose and such a girl.  This year, her understanding clicked, but she still kept saying she didn't want "Ho, ho, ho to come because he's 'cary".  Still, she's put a thousand miles on both the shoes and the doll stroller he brought her.

I love the anticipation surrounding the kids gifts to each other.

I know, I know ... he'll shoot his eye out ... but brothers were dying to do this together.

I love Christmas trickery.  I swore I'd be the last parent on the earth to give a teen a cell phone.... until I couldn't find Celia anymore ... and calling her friends to find her was getting overwhelming ... and receiving texts from random friends to tell me where she was or was gonna be was getting weird ... and driving days are looming fast.

 I have thought myself pretty darn smart thus far to have allowed her friend's mothers to pay for her cell phone plan :)  But it was time.

Still ... it's all she's wanted and all she asked for and every time I countered with a, "Honey, it's not gonna happen.  I don't want to see you disappointed on Christmas morning yet again, so what would you really like?"

And then I wrapped everything in cell phone sized boxes and put the phone in a giant box full of heavy magazines.

She eagerly opened every one of those little presents first .. a scarf, some gum, earphones.  And I watched her try not to let her face fall with each.  

By the end, we had to nudge her toward the big box and just KNOWING it wasn't what she hoped it could possibly be, she put on her bravest smile and opened her last gift.

It was priceless.

And now, I'm funny and smart.

And here's what the rest of our day looked like.  Talking to grandparents. Back in our pj's.  Eliza into new one's she'll never remove ... ever.  Celia texting the entire high school to tell them of her new phone.  Games and reading and playing and eating and a little target shooting from the front porch, of which I have no pics.

And no, ... Janie does not wear glasses.  Santa just brings her a fake, glassless pair every year and we have to endure her wearing them every day until they break.  I guess one year he just knew how badly she wanted glasses and brought her pseudo ones.  Somehow their private little tradition stuck.

And we've been in a Christmas coma ever since.  Haven't you?


  1. I love the captures - I think the pouty lips waiting for lip gloss is my favorite. I cried about the mom with 9 children gone. I already dread those quiet days. Silly, huh?

  2. Such a sweet Christmas post. It's so wonderful you got your Christmas wish!
    And I just love how you surprised your daughter with her phone!
    We were in a "Christmas coma" around here too for a few days...unfortunately school is back in session, and Christmas seems like a distant memory.

  3. your family is just beautiful!!