"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Monday, December 10, 2012

the most wonderful time of the year

It is magical, isn't it?

Not because it really is, but because we make it so. Or wish it so. Or WILL it so...even when it's not, because the kids just won't have fun and enjoy it, despite our best efforts to MAKE them have fun and enjoy it. They fight over who gets to turn on the Christmas lights (even though we have three sets of lights to plug in and four ROOMS full of candles to turn on). They argue over who gets to lick the cookie dough spatula (never mind that we ALWAYS have one for each of them). They spend the entire Angel Tree Shopping Trip adding to their OWN wish lists and sulking when we don't let them buy even just one thing, even with their own money. They run wild through the house "playing Santa and his reindeers and some ninjas" and, without fail, one always ends up in tears. They're each up multiple times each night and up for the day by 5:30.

And it comes as no surprise that overtired, overstimulated, can't-wait-two-more-weeks kids have a hard time showing their Christmas Spirit.

But we continue to look for the Joy of the Season. Because it's there. Somewhere? Way down deep?

Even when Max crosses his arms over his chest, furrows his brow, and says in his grumpiest voice, "I am So Mad at you, Mommy, for getting the red and green candy canes and not the pink and purple candy canes." We look.

And when Evan has difficulty saying ANYthing to ANYone in a voice other than a demanding, angry,  stubborn voice. We keep looking.

And when Molly....nevermind. The Christmas Spirit is alive and well in this kid.


We look for The Magic, and sometimes, maybe sandwiched between a meltdown and a "THAT'S NOT FAIR!" we find it.

Exhibit A:
Evan tiptoed in to where Bear Ticklish, our Elf, was hiding one evening before bed. He didn't know I saw him go, and didn't know I was eavesdropping. "Bear Ticklish?" he began, "I want to tell you where you should be tomorrow when we wake up. You should be on our Christmas Tree. But not just ANYwhere on our Christmas Tree. You should be up at the very top by the star. You can hold on tight to it."  I heard it and I tucked it in my pocket, knowing the next morning's Elf Hunt would be the Best One Yet. Magic.

Exhibit B:
Max has been walking around the house singing Christmas Carols for weeks. Jingle Bells was a first favorite. He sang, "...in a one-horse, open sleigh" as "...in a one horse, slope and say." When I tried to teach him the real lyrics, he said, "Okay, but I sing it however I want, it's MY Jingle Bells." Now, he's moved on to the more sophisticated, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and even has the part about the figgy pudding down. Step aside Mariah Carey, there's a new Christmas Diva in town.

Exhibit C:
Evan wrote his Christmas list the other day. There were only two things on it: "A ninju robot" (Phew! I'm pretty sure that one's already in Santa's sack. And, "Molly to be happy." And then he smiled at me and said, "And I know YOU want her to sleep through the night! But I just want her to be happy." He may have a hard time showing it to me and Sam some days, but man, that kid can turn on the Sweet Lovin' like no other.

Exhibit D:
We went to see a huge light display at a botanical garden and park near my in-laws house. There was a life-sized unicorn made out of lights, a Christmas Light maze, lights, lanterns and decorations in every tree, and a huge Chinese dragon made out of lights that you actually walked through in one part of the park. Evan, Max, and even Molly just stared, mouth open, eyes sparkling, as we walked through the park. There was Magic that night, too.

Exhibit E:
They clean up pretty well this time of year, too.


Lesson Learned:
I don't want to wish these next two weeks away. We have a lot to look forward to....lots of memories to make...lots of fun to have. And I. Will. Enjoy. It. And so will they, whether they like it or not.

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