Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Christmas Miracle

All of us woke up on Christmas Eve, which in and of itself caused us to be grateful.  But beyond our new found appreciation for clean air and functional heat, the youngest members of my family were counting down the moments until the big red man would climb down the chimney.

As we all eyed the clock, I contemplated the greatest benefit of being a parent at holiday time-- the absolute power one can wield at the mere mention of Santa's name.

Don't want to eat your green beans?  Santa might not bring you that movie you wanted.

It's too early to go to bed?  Maybe Santa will decide that you don't need another train.

Think it's funny to whack your brother in the crotch with a glow-in-the-dark sword?  Santa might return the favor.  You never know...

I was especially grateful for this absolute power during our church's Christmas Eve service.  We'd gotten the kids down for their naps a bit late and I was forced to wake them before their bodies were prepared.  Those of you with children know that this scenario is less desirable than pulling out one's own teeth with a bacon flipper, but the power of Santa helped us get through. 

That and a big bag of Fruity Cheerios.

Once home, we snapped a few photos and confirmed our suspicions that any points Cael and Graham lose for behavior they easily make up in cuteness.  Because all of the food was already earmarked for Christmas Day, we found ourselves eating hot dogs and frozen tater tots in celebration of our Lord's birth.  After dinner, we gathered 'round the fire and opened one gift, always pajamas, a tradition carried over from my husband's childhood.  Joel mulled over his Cardinals t-shirt and pants which I had carelessly purchased with Pujol's name emblazoned on the back although he had already departed the team.

Cael giggled at his guitar shirt and plaid pants while Graham ran full speed around the kitchen and tested out the gripped feet of his red reindeer pajamas.

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When it was my turn, I should have simply put the box down and backed away as soon as I heard Joel say, "I didn't know what to get, but I thought these were AWESOME!"

Photo and link here
Time for a math lesson.  Husband + pajamas + AWESOME (usually) = skimpy lingerie.  But Joel isn't a usual husband.  I unfolded the tissue paper to reveal full-length housewife sized pink bunny footed pajamas.  I love him, but I really hoped it wasn't a sign of what was to come tomorrow.  I really don't need a lamp in the shape of a woman's leg.  We're all stocked up on tackiness.

Once the boys donned their brand new sleepwear, we put out cookies and eggnog for Santa as well as a carrot for Rudolph.  We kissed their wide-eyed faces and tucked them into bed, whispering wild threats and summoning the power of Santa to keep them in their rooms until morning.

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And somehow, while the kids slept, Santa filled our stockings and adorned our tree with shiny, wrapped boxes and bags filled with surprises that ached to be revealed.



"Mommy!  Santa DID come!"

"How do you know, Cael?  You were supposed to come straight into our room." 

"I know because I saw all of the presents!  There are lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of presents and they are all for me!"

"You don't think there are any for the rest of us?"

"There are some tiny ones that Graham can have."

"Wow, you're really generous.  Listen, it's too early to wake up Graham, so climb on in and you can watch a show until it is time to open presents."

"Okay.  But Mommy?  I wanted to see Santa.  I wanted to give him a hug.  I washed my chest so that I could hug him."

I was aware of Santa's preference that children not be awake in his presence, but I didn't know that he was a germaphobe.  If that is the case, he was in for a world of hurt in my house.

But if he thought it was dirty, nothing could have prepared him for the scene that unfolded throughout the morning.  Paper flew and anxious fingers played with new toys smelling of freshly molded plastic.  Joel and I enjoyed our gifts from one another and we were happy to share the experience with Papa again this year as the boys ripped into bags and boxes until only one remained.  This year, the biggest box had a tiny tag that read, "Graham."

Inside was a red Radio Flyer tricycle for our youngest to master on the security of our carpet before spring and the promise of skinned knees and goose eggs.  He bounded over to it and excitedly climbed on for a ride, with his back to the front and his feet backward in the petals.

Cael, who had been for weeks proclaiming to anyone who would listen, "I'm going to get the Polar Express train for Christmas", was so confident in his prediction that his face fell when the big box did not contain his heart's greatest wish.

"I really wanted the Polar Express train."

We reminded him of all of the wonderful gifts he did receive, and while he did a good job of being grateful for what he'd already gotten, it was clear that he was disappointed.  We distracted by assigning him the task of picking up the bits of wrapping paper that littered the living room.  Daddy asked him to check for paper behind the chair and when he did, he came across something that put the coal back in his boiler.

"Daddy!  There's a big box behind the chair!"

We made sure to read the name on the box very carefully.

"To Cael, from Mommy and Daddy."

As soon as he saw the blue sheen from the train box, he immediately began praising Santa for getting the one thing he truly wanted and forgot that dear ol' Dad and Mom had anything to do with it.

After the train was set up and began making its rounds 'round the tree, Cael camped out on the floor to watch the locomotive whiz by his face in a display of pure happiness.

The rest of the family gathered, and after the rest of the gifts had been exchanged, we huddled around the table for a delicious brunch.

Filling our bellies with our family's traditional french toast and new favorites like a delicious egg strata and fruit with white chocolate sauce, we all enjoyed the company of family as we celebrated the most wonderful time of the year.

Except for Cael, who was busy waiting for the train.


  1. Oh boy, that made me laugh! I love that Santa gets all the credit :-)

    On another note, we need to have a pj party sometime. *My* husband got me footie pjs too! LOL. Mine even have a hood LOL

  2. Shawna- If Santa gets all of the credit, I think he should also have his share of the blame. From now on, Santa is going to force Cael to eat broccoli and brush his teeth.

    The funniest part of the PJs is that we talk EVERY year about what I like, and he always manages to choose something WAY out of left field.

    He lives there.


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.