Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CHRISTMAS. #betterwithkids

I love doing jigsaw puzzles.  Especially on Christmas morning. Year after year, I would open my presents. Get irritated about getting a bunch of stuff I didn't want.  Wonder why I didn't just get the ONE expensive gift and none of the multitude of cheap, nonsense gifts (always been quality over quantity for me, always.) Then eat some candy and cookies.  Then retire to my bedroom to open and begin one of my brand new jigsaw puzzles on my puzzle table.  Yes.  As a child, I had a large, low, rectangle table in my bedroom for the sole purpose of doing puzzles.  Ok, and having tea parties.  As I aged, I merely replaced the location, and added a cup of coffee to the ritual.  And maybe increased the number and decreased the size of puzzle pieces.  To this day, that would continue to be my favorite thing about Christmas morning...if I didn't have kids.

Kids have changed the holiday.  What I used to think of as a holiday only for my own selfish pleasure, I now think of as a holiday 100% based on giving.  I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning the night before Christmas Eve (Santa visited a day early, as I worked all day on Christ's birthday) wrapping presents. Oh, and perhaps, polishing off a near full bottle of wine from the sweater party the night before as well...let's just say the wrapping job was not exemplary work.  I exhausted myself, just so that I could see and enjoy the excitement on my children's face the next morning.  They love it.  They believe in Santa.  They think he is real, that he can deliver gifts to all kids, all over the world, in one night.

We put on matching pajamas. We {forgot to put out milk and cookies}. We read The Polar Express the night before, Brock and Curtis were engrossed.  With every one of these moments, a flood gate of personal memories opened.  I remember the mystery and magic of believing in Santa.  Of being so excited I could not possibly sleep the night before. Of listening, and listening, and listening in the silence of my room, to the point of convincing myself that I most certainly heard the reindeer on my roof.  Of sneaking down the stairs before anyone was up to see if Santa had visited.  I remember my siblings being so excited and thankful.  A day where the house was allowed to remain a mess, a bigger mess than ever.  A day completely devoted to playing with toys.  Eating.  Staying inside. Enjoying family.  Though some of these feelings, moments, principles never left me as I aged, all of them are present now with my three little boys present.
I try my best to not completely shove it in people's faces that having children is amazing.  My favorite thing in the whole world.  The best decision I have ever made.  I know that some people can't have kids.  Don't want them.  Aren't in the right situation.  Or whatever their circumstances may be, they are childless, by choice or not.  I think life definitely has it's perks without children.  As, I lost my ability to do a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, on Christmas day, or any other day for that matter, about 4 years ago.  With the arrival of Brock.  But even with the loss of my favorite tradition.  Christmas is still better with kids.  It just is.

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