Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Anticipation

Christmas is different when the kids are grown up. Not worse. Just different. Mostly what is missing is the anticipation. Little kids get excited about Christmas. By Christmas eve, they are about delirious with the excitement. Big kids...well...they don't get delirious about much, unless they've been drinking, and we don't encourage that here. Anyhow, I miss the anticipation. I used to do my share to ratchet that excitement level up a bit. I had my own memories of four children lumped together in one bed whispering excitedly in the dark hours of Christmas morning. We had to worry about waking my father, so we were especially quiet, but the anticipation was a big part of Christmas for me, and I wanted to my kids to have those same sorts of memories, so rule one of Christmas morning at our house was that the kids could not go downstairs until they heard the clock 'bong' six. So one of them (usually Brianna) would wake up and creep from room to room waking the others. They'd then all congregate in one bedroom and whisper until it was almost six. Then they'd slip down the hall past our bedroom and sit at the top of the stairs waiting for the keywound clock to wheeze as it did before it began to chime. And for this time, I'd lay in bed and smile to myself, thinking about my own Christmases past, thinking about Christmases yet-to-come when my own children would be laying in bed in the wee hours of Christmas remembering their own Christmases past.
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Yes. I was kind of a fanatic about Christmas excitement. Such a fanatic that if, by chance, the kids were not up by 5:30, I'd slip out of my own bed, and reach behind my door for the wrapping paper tube that I always left there. I'd crack my bedroom door, and the tube would slip through, and I'd bellow "HO HO HO!" By the time I got my own door shut, and sneaked back to my bed, the youngest kids were gasping 'Santa!' and scampering down the hall.
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This year, we will have 4 out of 5 home. Early Christmas morning, I can guarantee you that I'll be laying wide awake smiling in the dark. And for a fact, there will be a wrapping paper tube behind my bedroom door. I can also guarantee that I won't be yelling 'HO HO HO' through it. Grown-up kids grumble and swear when they hear Santa in the hall at 5:30 AM.

9 comments:

Stevyn Colgan said...

Think yourself lucky. I've got my mother-in-law here on Christmas Eve and she's worse than the bloody kids. She'll be up at 5am. I just know she will. Maybe some kind of sedative in her bedtime cocoa ...

A Novel Woman said...

Oh, I hear you Debby. My kids are all grown up now too, so it's a different kind of energy in the house. But they don't like any of the traditions to change, other than the getting up at the crack of dawn part. Last night we had a house full of kids as all their old high school friends dropped by to socialize. I was up until the wee hours, and then this morning, the water is brown which means a burst pipe somewhere in the town. Not how I wanted to start my day!

I loved the part about the tube behind the door. One year, Santa snagged his pants on the fireplace door and left a little triangle of fabric stuck to the corner. Another year, one of the reindeers dropped a bell from his harness. There's always soot on the carpet, though. Santa is a bit messy.

Stevyn, you crack me up!

Debby said...

Oh, Stevyn! You shouldn't be sleeping on Christmas morning anyways! How about this: I take her for the early part of Christmas morning. The two of us will make my house miserable in our inimitable jolly way, and then I'll send her back to your house to inflict Christmas cheer at a more reasonable hour...

Portia said...

OMG - I am so going to try that this year with a paper tube. What a fun mom you are.

jeanie said...

lol I have absolutely no Christmas memories that involved our parents being awake before we rudely woke them up (although occasionally Dad did slip by our vigil and sneak a swim in)

Bob said...

We have for years made our three stay at the top of the stairs until we give them the signal they can come down and see what's in their stockings. The 23-year-old sheepishly asked a few days ago if maybe he could not do that anymore. OK with me, if he doesn't want anything from Santa . . . Geez!

MuseSwings said...

Good for you, Bob! Stick to your tradition! We always had to wait at the stairs too - for dad to throw some coal in the furnace so we wouldn't turn to popcicles and then to light the tree. Happy memories, Debby, my dear friend! I wish you and yours a blessed Christmas and a HEALTHY New Year. (I "promise" not to "borrow" your credit card until after the holidays) Hugs, Cynthia

Scotty said...

The tube sounds like fun - if I don't catch ya beforehand, Debby, here's wishing you and yours a lovely Christmas from across the pond.

:-)

Cimba7200 said...

Kids make Christmas! - Dave