Christmas morning is just a few days away and I'm overwhelmed with a house full of kids on day one of winter break, piles of Amazon boxes stuffed full of dolls, Legos, and other painful toys, and a mile-long list of things that I should be doing with my kids.
Things are going swimmingly. The good news is that chances are I'll rally, pull my act together, and get my "mom" on for the remainder of the week. I work better under pressure anyway. I'll cook, wrap, craft, sing, play, curse, and cry in the laundry room when no one is looking, but I'll get things done!
Christmas Eve will undoubtedly be a stressful covert operation as my husband and I sneak the gifts under the tree while making sure no child awakes and thwarts our mission. Christmas Day will break with the dawn and our little girls will bask in the magic that is Christmas morning. Ahhhh. It'll be a glorious event, I'm sure.
It will not, however, go off without any number of surefire mishaps that seem to occur every, single year.
Pictures will be snapped by my husband as he tries to capture each magical moment at 6 a.m. Every one will look ecstatic as they open their presents... everyone except me. I'll look like crap in every picture. I'll most likely be hunched over my cup of coffee in my giant fluffy bathroom robe looking like a drunk polar bear. Some pictures will show off my double chin, some will have me mid-speech with a gaping mouth. My hair will have dried in my sleep from last night's shower, and I'll look a bit like Michael Landon from "Little House on The Prairie."
Sexy... I know.
As my children tear through their gifts, my husband will be just as surprised at the opened bundles as the kids. He has no clue what is in them. I do the shopping when he's at work and the gifts get wrapped long after the last child (and my husband) have fallen asleep. We may have mentioned a present idea here or there in the context of everyday conversation over the last month, but he doesn't usually remember these daily details.
Not knowing what Santa brought just doesn't seem to bother him, just like it doesn't bother him that our living room looks like an Evergreen forest threw up all over it. For one month now I have vacuumed up those blasted pine needed every, single day because my husband MUST HAVE his real Christmas tree. For 30 straight days, I've sucked the tree skirt up with the needles rather than bend down and move it out of the way! I'll continue to find and vacuum up the damn needles for the next month, a reminder of the magic that has passed.
My parents will come over for Christmas dinner...they'll be at our home by 10 am. My dad will do his best to slow down my mother's Christmas mission, but he'll fail miserably and give up on stalling her.
We all know how this plays out. The only person more jacked up than my kids over Christmas morning is Grandma. Even though there are no longer any children waking up at her house, she'll be up bright and early, chugging coffee and pacing the kitchen, waiting to shower her grandbabies with a year's supply of Costco toys – gifts she's been hoarding since the summer. She will have wrapped each gift so perfectly that no one will be able to open any of them without the assistance of a pocket knife.
Grandma and Grandpa will roll up to the house, pop open the trunk of their SUV, and it will be stuffed full of brightly colored packages. Every year, Grannie upstages Santa. There's no way that she'll allow those beautiful grandbabies of hers to love a magical fat man in a red suit – or me, for that matter – more than they love her. She must do better.
And every year she does.
Last year, the kids got more gifts from her than they did from the fat man. Over the years we've tried to control her Christmas habits, but we've since given up and allowed her to do what she wants. She's Grandma...she's earned that right.
Round two of present-pa-looza will descend upon us and the whole show is repeated for Grannie and Gramps. My dad will sit on the couch observing the fiasco while doing some mental math regarding Grandma's Christmas spending. My mom will fight the urge to yell out what the gift is just as it is about to be revealed. (I already know everything that I'm getting from her, she told me months ago. The woman cannot keep a secret to save her life.)
The rest of the day will be spent in a cloud of present-induced ADHD. The kids will jump from toy to toy not having a clue where to focus their attention and energy. We'll have a grand dinner (somehow I'm able to pull this off) and everyone will collapse in their beds by 8, counting down the days until next Christmas.
364 days to go.
It takes a village!
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