Christmas Countdown

{Here is another story that was typed but never posted.  It was originally written on December 26, 2013.  Two years later, I am very thankful I had written these events down.  I remember them all, but forgot they all happened on the same holiday.  Enjoy!}

An old classmate sent me a message the other day and there was a statement that really tickled me.  She has never had kids and she wrote, “I bet Christmas at your house is so much fun.”  I hated to burst her bubble of the wonderful image she had of my life, but if she reads this blog she will discover that my family Christmas’ will never be used to portray a Norman Rockwell Christmas picture.  Maybe the cover of a National Lampoon Christmas Vacation movie, but not a Norman Rockwell picture.  LOL

I’m sure you all understand the term “cause and effect”.  I have decided to use a cause and effect layout to describe my Christmas Holiday.  I hope it comes across the same way I had it in my head.  I was going to write, in detail, what my Christmas Holiday was like, but it was turning into a book.  So hopefully you will get a good understanding of what my Christmas was like from the highlights below.  So please join me on my Christmas Countdown.

4 days before Christmas

Woke up to an ice storm = Me outside beating on the weighed down tree limbs with a stick.  (It was like beating a big pinata and I actually kind of enjoyed it.)
Kids excitement level for Christmas escalating + Boredom of being inside = More sibling fighting than normal.
Ice storm causes a baby-sitting event to be cancelled = No Christmas shopping alone with my hubby.
My youngest throwing a toy car at the ceiling = Broken glass globe on my ceiling fan/chandler.
Ice storm blows a neighborhood transformer = Me leaving a shopping cart full of toys at a store to return home.  (By the way, the glass globe incident happened on Dad’s watch, about 5 minutes before the power went out.  So the big pieces were picked up, but not the little pieces.  And if you were wondering, the kids continued to fight IN THE DARK!)
Estimation of power coming back on at 8:00pm = Taking the family to IHOP for supper.
Discovering power is back on by 8:00pm = Frank telling me to go Christmas shopping, while he watches the kids.
Christmas shopping for about 3 hours at Walmart = Quicker checkout lines and arriving to a house full of sleeping kids at midnight.

3 days before Christmas

Youngest walking around with his sibling’s new flashlight = Black eye for my youngest daughter Ann, after Christopher gets mad and hits her with it.
Bored kids = Even more fighting
Kids getting in trouble = Many threats from parents that their toys were going back.
Telling my 8-year-old son that Santa isn’t going to bring him a present because of his actions = Hearing him state, “Doesn’t matter, cause your Santa anyway.”
Telling my 4-year-old daughter to behave or Santa Clause won’t bring her a present = A little girl crying her eyes out, for real!!!

2 days before Christmas

Dad & Mom having to go to work = Youngest one to day-care and the three older kids to a babysitter for the day.
Kids being at the babysitter’s house all day (on their best behavior) = Three kids letting off steam once they get home. (I’m talking a LOT of steam)
Little brother coming home with a present from a friend at day-care = Three older kids crying “It’s not fair, what about our present?”
Anxious kids asking about presents = More pissed off parents that declare Christmas is going to be cancelled.
Older siblings telling my 4-year-old that tomorrow is Christmas Eve = Four year old stating that tomorrow is Christmas and December 25th was Christmas Eve.

1 day before Christmas

Hubby having to go to work until 3:00pm (Luckily fool) = Mom threatening to kill kids if they don’t stop fighting and start picking up their toys.
Oldest daughter locking baby brother in the bathroom for a joke = A very pissed off Mom and a big brother to the rescue.  (He had to move my night stand, which blocks the other bathroom door, to get in and rescue his 2-year-old brother.)
Youngest son climbing up his dresser to get a pair of socks so he can join his older siblings outside = Chest of drawers falling on top of my little 2-year-old.
Lack of concern from older siblings when they found out about their brother’s accident = Mom on the floor in tears, having a Christmas meltdown.
Mom breaking down and crying = Kids actually cleaning the living room like I had asked them to do all day.
Dad arriving during Mom’s breakdown = Kids standing around saying, “Mom’s in the bathroom crying, but we don’t know why.”
My two oldest kids singing in the children’s Christmas choir = Needing to have them dressed and to the church by 4:20pm.  (Less than an hour after Frank arrived home from work.)
Watching my two oldest singing with the mass choir on Christmas Eve = Pride and thankfulness that our oldest daughter is here to sing at mass.  (Since 6 months ago, she had a brain tumor removed.)
Mom making baked zitti earlier in the day = Having a hot supper waiting for us after mass.
Letting the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve = Hearing excitement and disappointment when my youngest daughter says “I wanted some Stompy Slippers like Patrick.”  (However, they didn’t have any in her size, so I got her some Minnie Mouse slippers that can be used as a hand puppet.  No matter what I do, I can’t win!!)
Mom forgetting to make or buy cookies for Santa = Mom having to sacrifice one of her Reese’s peanut butter cup candy bars to set out with Santa’s milk.  (My oldest daughter asked me, “But what if Santa is allergic to peanut butter?”  My reply, “Then he won’t eat it.”)
Kids going to bed earlier than normal = Mom having the Christmas presents wrapped and gives Santa a chance to drop off his gifts at a decent hour.

Christmas Day

My two oldest kids excited about opening presents = Waking up around 4:00 am to hear them sifting through the presents under the tree.

Discovering my kids are awake WAY TOO EARLY = Telling them through gritted teeth, “If you don’t get back to bed and wait until your younger siblings wake up, all of your gifts will be going back!  And don’t even try waking them up, or you’ll be sorry.”.

Mom’s few minutes of letting her head spin around = Two kids actually staying in their room until a decent hour.

Watching ALL of the kids open presents that morning = Happiness, thankfulness and joy.  Not to mention some disappointment, whining and tears.  (You just can’t please everyone, all the time.)

Knowing all of our kids are healthy = The best Christmas present for Frank and I.

After reading through this story, I see that my friend is right.  Christmas is fun at our house.  It’s also crazy, loud, eventful and lively.  Going through those events at the time didn’t seem like fun.  But reading them now, years later, the bad feelings are forgotten.  They have been softened around the edges by the time.  So when I remember that Christmas in 2013, I have a warm and loving feeling in my heart.  Not the anger and despair I probably felt at the time.  🙂

I guess one of the miracles of Christmas is to create memories that will be cherished and remembered with a smile on your face many years later.

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