24 December 2010


It’s Christmas Eve and I find myself taking a trip down memory lane, as is prone to happen after too many glasses of spiked eggnog.

As a young girl, December 24th was always a pivotal day in my yearly calendar. Much to my poor parents’ chagrin, I was one of those children that got themselves so worked up over Santa that I would (a) almost wet myself (b) bounce off the walls and (c) exhaust the entire house with my excitement. I can still recall those days with absolute clarity – the butterflies flapping incessantly in my tummy, the sugar-high from too many cookies, and a sleepless night spent listening for any little noise indicating Santa’s arrival. I would lay trembling and unblinking in my bed, eyes trained on my bedroom door and heart beating a mile per minute. Meanwhile, my poor parents were creeping around the house knowing full well that I was listening to their every move and fervently hoping that that I would heed their warnings, “If you try to peek at Santa, he’ll go back up the chimney and take all your presents with him.”

Of course, my family never really helped in curtailing my excitement. On the way back from Christmas Eve mass, my father would always turn on the radio so that we could hear the NORAD Santa-tracking report. In all my childhood innocence, I took those reports very seriously. I would have believed anything Mom and Dad told me, but add on NORAD and there was no debate.

Other things I took very seriously – selecting cookies for Santa. I never questioned why my parents would always steer me in the direction of double chocolate chip. I’m sure they would have preferred wine to a warm glass of soured milk but, like all parents, they did all they could to protect my naivety .

Before heading to bed (note I did not mention anything about sleeping), Christmas Eve often culminated in a dubious re-enactment of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which my brother and I painstakingly acted out with a Fisher Price doll house and an assortment of little Leggo people. God bless my parents for sitting through the entire production with a straight face.

As I look at my own son I cannot even begin to fathom what sort of little surprises or holidays traditions he will concoct for our family. At only fourteen months, I am starting to see little glimmers of recognition and excitement. He marvels at the tree and loves to touch all the decorations we have strewn about the house. If there is anything more exciting than being a child at Christmas, it’s watching your own child get to experience everything. I may not lose sleep over Santa anymore, instead I’ll lie awake in anticipation of watching my little boy’s face as he tears through the presents and gets to spend time with all his family.

These are the golden moments, the ones that make us understand why we decided to travel down this crazy road called parenthood. It’s joy, plain and simple.

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