Christmas. Every year I make a personal pledge- “We will stay calm!”
In the words of Wayne Campbell- “Shyeah, right.” I saw for the first time just how crazy Christmas is, because I myself was calmer. I was watching all the activity spin around me, out of control. Of course I knew I had no control over it, and I wonder why I had ever TRIED to have control over it in the past.
My foster-parents came out for the week prior to Christmas. The girls absolutely love them, as they love my girls. Mother took them to see “The Nutcracker”, performed by Ballet Arizona and the Phoenix Symphony. Not a small event. New dresses, new shoes. The three ladies went off dressed to the nines for their afternoon away. Bret and my Dad went to a Suns basketball game, and I had a little peace. Which was good because I was battling a bit of a stomach virus.
So Christmas Eve comes, and I am feeling better- which is good because I wanted to make sure I got a bowl of chili! Bret is running around finishing up his shopping. I tried to work, needing to finish up a new part of my business I want to debut the beginning of January, but with the phone ringing off the hook and knowing my home would be full of people later, I gave up. Started the chili, grated the cheese and chopped the onion. Baked cookies. Samantha and I wrapped her present for Allison while she and Bret were SHOPPING for Samantha’s. Went back down and started the cider simmering. Now as I look up and see it is 5pm, people are due to arrive at 6:30 and husband isn’t home yet.
I change into my clothes for the evening. Curl my hair, a bit of makeup. My mother (maternal) calls wondering why I haven’t picked her up yet (she doesn’t drive). I sigh and tell her that Bret said he would be along. As I hang up the phone I have a bit of panic. My foster-parents and my mother will be under my roof together. Hmmm. Obviously my foster-parents do not have a good view of my mother, considering how I came to be with them in the first place. Usually I keep them separate when they come to visit. Not an easy task at Christmastime I suppose.
By now I just want to crawl under a rock. Do all these people have to come over? Can I just hide in my room? I’m usually excited about this event- what is different?
But the evening goes well, and I am actually having a good time. Many comment on why I’m so calm with a houseful of people. I smile and shrug- the nice thing about buffet-style open houses is that they pretty much run themselves. Bret keeps asking if I’m ok, since I’m being so quiet. I resist smacking him, how little he knows me and how I’ve changed over these past months.
Allison and Samantha have prepared a Christmas dance for everyone. Samantha, who really is just like me, chickens out at the end and Allison performs alone. Of course, now that I think about it, Allison is like me too. Weird, to see so many sides of me and who I am in my two beautiful daughters. I like to think I’m the dominant force in them, but then I see how controlling Allison can be towards everything- especially her sister- and I know Bret is in them too.
Then we all settle and Bret (with Allison’s help) reads “The Night Before Christmas”. The children gather at his feet, the adults in the background. We have done this every year now for 8 years. We have two extra children over, our next door neighbor Kimber and her son Hunter and daughter Brooke. Hunter is 3 and in Sam’s class at school. Brooke is 9 weeks old. Samantha and Hunter are joined at the hip, and I laugh because I know EXACTLY who is keeping them joined that way!
As soon as the story is over we go outside and sprinkle reindeer dust around so they know where to land. Just looking at the magic in their eyes warms me. And, I have never seen my children get to bed so quickly! Company then takes the hint and leaves.
Of course our evening is not over yet. After cleaning up from company, Bret brings in the main gift (an air hockey table) and begins to assemble it, while I start filling the stockings. Then I realize I didn’t get a thing for Bret’s stocking. He admits he didn’t get anything for mine either. We laugh at the fact that Christmas is no longer about us.
2am we collapse into bed. What wakes us in the morning? The sound of glee from our children? Noooooo. The doorbell, as my parents come over BRIGHT AND EARLY and wake us, thinking the children would be awake all ready. Do they feel bad? No, thinking that we DESERVE this since its Christmas. Bret looks ready to cry, and I grumble to the kitchen to make coffee. THEN the kids come downstairs.
Overall it’s of course a great morning, and I marvel in the fact that my older daughter still believes in the magic. My parents are passed out on the sofas within two hours.
I am just glad it is over, so much fuss over such a small moment. In some ways, every day should be Christmas. In others, it should come as often as a leap year.