Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Visions of sugarplums...

I'm actually not talking about the kids and their visions...im talkig about mine: Pete and i would sip wine as we would put a few special presents under the tree for the kids as the fire roared and silverbells played quietly in the background. Morning would come and we would be awakened by the pitter patter of tiny footsteps and a small voice saying "santa's come!" The kids would wake up, we would read the real first Christmas nativity story. We head down the stairs and hear shreaks of joy at the wonderous gifts left secretly in the night. The kids would take turns opening their gifts, and we would discuss the fun of each special gift or trinket. Smiles of gratitude on our older kids faces, gasps of thankful joy from the littler ones would fill the family room while Santa Claus is Comin to Town plays in the background. While the kids would play on the floor with their new toys, Pete and i would steal away to a corner where we would sip coffee and exchange our own gifts for each other, savoring every moment of joy we have given our children and each other. After the present opening and the delicious breakfast of butterbraids and juice, we would slip into our matching Christmas outfits. We would arrive a bit early for Christmas mass, so the ushers would trip over each other trying to be the one to ask the adorable family to bring up the gifts.

-We arrive home late and tired from the grandparents
-We work to get the kids tobed by 9:45
-We clean up dishes and trash from celebration and meals earlier that day
-We take tylenol for our headaches and drink pepsi to stay awake
-We let our friend in to help us assemble gifts
-We try to keep our eyes open while cursing and kicking their new toys
-We make 25 trips up and down the stairs and hope that we left enough time for santa to come and make his magic happen
-I am startled at midnight by my 12 yr old throwing up from eating too much crap the day before
-We crawl into bed at 2:45 (3.5 hrs earlier than last year)
-We debate and wonder if we will be participating in more family festivities or perhaps not because of our barfer.
-We are so tired that part of us would be ok with staying at home in our pajamas all day anyway
-We are awakened by our 12 year old at 6:30 saying he feels fine and is ready to open gifts
-We are bombarded by the other 4 ready to open gifts
-One sweet child reminds us to read the true Christmas nativity story before we go check out the santa load.
-We head downstairs to shrieks of joy and excitement
-the shrieks continue to the point that daddy has another headache now and mommy is busy shuffling paper into bags and gifts into piles
-pete and i open gifts to each other while kids beg for us to find batteries and open plastic
-wrap everywhere, gifts everywhere
-forgot to get butterbraids out last night so scrambling for breakfast - hand each of the kids a piece of coffee cake (tha k you friends for leaving that on the doorstep!
-pete make brownies for my mom's while i iron everyone's clothing - 5 pairs of khakis,
5 white shirts, 5 sportcoats
-throw kids into their clothes
-send 3 kids w pete to church to save seats
-throw on my dress and makeup
-show up during the entrance hymn
-i look down the row: we look good. We are happy. We are here. And all the toys and wrap and chaos will still be there when we get home, but for now, we are here.
"Happy Birthday Jesus. Your party was insane. Thanks for hosting this nice afterparty. We needed it."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Very dramatically - "mom, why do you lie?! " i ask what my ten yr old is talking about. He replies that we SAY we love him but he knows that if he were as good of a student as so and so or as great at all sports as so and so that he knows we would love him more. Seriously?! This is the conversation i get to endure, this is the conversation i get to have after emailing his teachers vouching for his hard work lately, after staying up late checking all his homework, after praying, worrying and crying over how to help him succeed, after staying up late transposing his newest band song into the key of "g" so that it is in his range, after picking up his damp socks and underwear from the bathroom floor, after flushing his unflushed waste down the toilet, after making his scrambled eggs this morning, after after after... I nearly answered - "i could not love you more, if i did i would have to stay up all night "loving you" i would have to never sleep to "love you" any more than i already do. Love is not something that we feel. Love is something that we do. A popular country music singer simgs those very words. God doesn't like all of us all that much very often i am quite sure, but He will never stop loving us. I think our job is to act in ways that make God proud to love us. "So son, no i could not love you any more than i do, but you are welcome to work your butt off to make me proud."