Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Eve

It's the Eve.

If Clement Moore's children had been in college, he would have written about the morning before Christmas, rather than the night before Christmas. The time is approaching double digits, and the Boys are still nestled all snug in their beds. It will be the last calm moment until after the holiday festivities: Tomorrow morning I won't dawdle over my coffee as I scramble to put Christmas dinner in the oven before leaving for church.

Before I had children, I had a vision in my mind of how Christmas mornings would unfold. Shiny-faced poppets arranged on the stairway in their matching pajamas, bright-eyed with anticipation and squealing with delight at the sight of overstuffed stockings and Santa's generosity.

Sometimes that happened, but frankly, having four children exponentially raises the odds that someone will not get to sit in the spot he wanted to open presents, someone will be unhappy with Santa's thick-headedness in choosing gifts, someone will be inexplicably grumpy. In short, Christmas morning with toddlers and teenagers is an enormous sleigh-full of emotions, and as a mother who insisted on carrying the emotional baggage I was often bone-tired at the end of Christmas day.

Fortunately, I have matured along with my children. As I get older I put less pressure on myself to make Christmas magical. I only do the Christmas traditions that I love to do (baking bread and knitting) and have joyfully released the traditions that television's idea of a perfect Christmas forced on me (oh, my heavens, the hated decorating of sugar cookies). I don't stress about mailing my cards before the 25th; my friends will know I'm thinking of them as I address their cards next week. I trust the Boys to be happy, or not, knowing I really don't have much influence over this choice.

I'm deeply contented this Eve, and filled with joy that the birth of Christ is the event that brings us together in celebration.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good Eve.

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