I came home from work a half an hour early and crawled through the darkness plugging in lights and straightening bows. I stepped cautiously around Santa's magic dust and brought in the milk and cookies plate from outside. I clicked on the floor heater in the back room, let the dog out and started making breakfast which woke Jon and sent him stumbling down the hall to see what the ruckus was. After the egg casserole was in the oven and the bacon was arranged for cooking I took a break before the chaos. I didn't have enough time to nap so instead I enjoyed listening to everyone else start to stir and sometime around 7 the baby awoke and then the big kid thumped down the hall.
"It's Christmas Baby", I told them. When the adults gathered blurry eyed under the Christmas tree the girls went through their stockings and swapped their pillow pets and then we assembled some things while we waited for Papa Glen to come at 8. I finished making the bacon and sausage and mixed some pancake/waffle mix.
From 8 am to 9 am there was a flurry of wrapping paper, squeels, begs to assemble and open things and the chaos and the noise got a little overwhelming. Then we showed the girls their outside swing set and they learned to swing and slide in the PJ's and jackets in the frost while I finished up the waffle making. After breakfast there was a good dose of making toys and giving praises until eventually I couldn't wait any longer to sleep and the grandparents filtered out one by one before I padded off to bed just before noon.
I woke occassionally to the sound of outside play or toys going up and down the hall and I know I missed some good parts so I forced myself up at 4:30 and heated up some dinner for my girlies and listened to endless stories about what they got and what they did. I watched Layla pretend to be Nannie with a back the hurt so she couldn't get out of her toy car before dinner. I watched Anyah lay the kisses on a Princess Belle baby. I was the receiving end of silly walkie talkie conversations and the samplier of pretend food from a plastic dish and before long I helped people back into their Christmas Jammies and kissed them so I could head back for a few more hours of sleep before work.
It's the smallest Christmas we've ever had. I feel blessed that the kids were overwhelmed with awesome gifts and quality time. I sort of liked how condensed we've become sometimes because I don't have to be anything I'm not…especially when I'm tired. For the first time in many many years the tree stayed up tonight because I had to go to work. I'll walk passed it on my way out the door tonight, surrounded by the toys left right where they fell and the small bits of wrapping paper that didn't make it to the clean up sack and it will make me a little sad that I'm not all snuggled with my husband and enjoying the Christmas night…
And then I will say "it was Christmas" when I tell the stories and I'll remember how much Layla loved her new toy car and swingset or how Anyah made messes with her gifts all over the house and cried when we tried to clean up… and I won't remember how tired I was or how the bacon wasn't as crispy as I had hoped. Because that's how it goes. By this time next month it will be something we did once… a fond memory and a tradition kept. I'll forget how stressed we were about everything, I may even eventually forget how tight the budget was or how I much I worried it wouldn't be enough. Even now that part seems silly, because it's always enough. Because it is Christmas… and they got what they wanted… time to play with us.
*photos to come eventually when I download the camera since this is the only one I took with my phone (before we got started)
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