on christmas

Hullo.

I am back. Tee hee!

Woo hoo internet! Woo hoo 21st century!

So, Christmas. You saw the pictures. The kids had a great time. I did, too.

We started Christmas Eve in a tizzy. I had worked the night before, so I was a bit sleepy, and then I had to pack bags to move into the house I was housesitting, pack bags for an overnight stay on Christmas Eve at my friend ASchoolYardBlogger's house, have Christmas with the family I am living with, go to the in-laws house for Christmas with Josh's entire extended family, move into said housesitting house and get all Santa's presents to ASYB's without the kids noticing. It was crazy. But, well, I'm good at crazy and so maybe I smelled a bit off and maybe my hair looked like utter crap, but I pulled it off. We got the kids to bed, the presents out, the stockings stuffed and were off to bed by maybe 11:30, maybe closer to 12.

I have been less concerned with the whole "first Christmas without dad" thing than I think maybe should have been. I have never put too much stock into the whole Christmas thing and was fairly convinced that I would skate through this one.

I was wrong.

By the time I hit the in-laws house I was beyond frazzled. I was mad because I had to do all this running around all by myself. I was mad because my kids would not wake up in their own beds on Christmas morning. I was mad because they did not have their ornaments or their tree for that matter. I was mad because they kept asking what Dad was doing for Christmas. I was mad because Josh's family all gave me that look, that look, that "poor her" look. And they all talked around me, but only one person there, the least likely one, that one person was the only one to actually talk to me. I was mad because I was sitting there with his family knowing full well that if the tables were turned he wouldn't come within 5 time zones of my family. I was mad because this was the first Christmas I didn't get to cook and the one, the one thing I like about Christmas is the dinner and the fancy dishes and the nice wine. I was mad because we were not going to get to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas and Elf and then Christmas Story after the kids went to bed while I wrapped presents, which is the one and only real Christmas tradition we have.

I was mad. I was, like, crying mad. I had to go outside three times at the in-laws to cry. And I'm not a crier. I was sad and lonely and tired and I just wanted it to all be over.

Nice way to go into your kids biggest holiday, no?

So, we left the in-laws and mozied on over to my friend's house. And that's were things picked up. My friend and her husband (who is equally as friends with me, I just see him less, so she takes top billing) they are, well, good for the soul. They are smiles and hugs and quiet and kind and not in that horrid condescending way but in the 'you are family and get your asses in here' sort of way. So maybe I didn't get to watch Christmas Story but I did get to lay out Christmas with two other people who were totally happy to be doing it with me and didn't seem to mind so much the toy-bomb exploding in their living room.

Josh has always worked on Christmas eve and so my job has always been the wrapping and the stuffing and the cookie laying out and eating and his job has always been to lay the boys stockings at the foot of their beds when he gets home. This year, I got to do it. It's kind of fun, in a James Bond sort of way. One has to be quite stealthy when one is Santa. One also should be certain beyond a doubt which stocking goes with which child, but I figured I had a good 50/50 shot at getting it right, so I was most likely ok. We got it all out and ready, ate the cookies, shuffled off to bed and I slept like a baby. A rock. The dead. I slept.

The next morning I awoke to a bit more sunshine than I thought I should be waking to on Christmas day, and upon investigation found that it was indeed 7:15 or so. I went upstairs and saw my kids with my friends, stockings torn through and giant smiles on a lot of faces. I guess they walked past my friends' bedroom door a few times, trying to get someones attention, and then in hushed voices informed them that the big guy in the red suit had indeed arrived.

Oh boy had he ever.

It took them a minute to see the guitar and the keyboard, what with the wicked awesome stocking stuffers Santa totally hooked them up with. Pocket knives, watches, candy, not one pair of socks. Santa, you rock.

Anyway, T got Les Paul Pee Wee electric guitar complete with bag and amp. Santa could have brought headphones, but that would be far too nice to mom. Bygones. B got a Yamaha keyboard thing complete with sustain peddle, stand that Santa broke just a little during assembly, and headphones. The one who can read music and play it got headphones. Jimi Hendrix over here may have to borrow them.

The godfather arrived around 8, the god auntie and god Dunkie shortly thereafter and breakfast was had, games were played, dogs were shamefully dressed, a bazillion gifts opened, coffee drank, beer drank (L sure does like Stella), fingers sliced open and new outfits drenched in blood* and then the extended family arrived around 4 for dinner. The 8 and 10 year old niece/nephew/cousins came with their mom and the uncle/brother/grandpa. Dinner was grand and yummy and beautiful and the company fine. More presents were opened, yawns exchanged and then Christmas was over.

It was, I kid you not, the very best Christmas ever. Like, in the history of Christmas and shit.

I spent all this time getting myself all worked up because our holidays were so hectic and all I wanted to do was be home. That night, I sat around a table and looked and listened while my very favorite people in the whole world giggled and laughed and told stories and, well, celebrated, and I realized a very large thing that night. I realized that I was home.

Finally.

*If Santa should ever feel the need to bring your offspring pocketknives, be sure to ask him to bring a knife safety manual as well.