I love Christmas. It is a huge thing. I really get into it. I shop for gifts starting in October. I bake, I decorate, I hide the elf, I watch ALL the Christmas movies. This year I even dedicated to reading nothing but Christmas books from Thanksgiving to Christmas. A nice repreieve from the biographies and fiction I normally drown myself in. I clocked in at 6 Christmas books this year. I was pretty proud.
And then Christmas was upon us. We kicked it off with Gus’s Christmas program. He was a shepherd. He was naughty, but he particpated. And naughty is his normal. Things were going smoothly. Presents were wrapped. The tree was up. Gus did his shepherd duties. All was well.
Then the next morning I saw the number on my iphone. The one we all hate to see. The number from school. I wanted to silent it, but I am not a completely horrible person, so I answered. “We have Gus here in the office.” My first reaction was to say “You must have the wrong number,” and hang up. But again, not completely horrible, so I went to pick him up, him and his pink eye. He was mulling about the poor secretary’s office touching everything he could while she kindly followed him with Clorox wipes.
But it was okay. This was nothing.
The next night was Hank’s program. John was gone for work. So it was just me and grandparents. Hank had practiced his line a million times. He was ready. But stage fright took over. He cried through the whole (most adorable) program, couldn’t say his line, and stood sniffing into kleenex in the back of the stable, where he was dressed as the most hilariously pathetic camel. Pull it together, Christmas.
Two days later. Old Pink Eye Gus is looking good. Healed up real nicely. (He couldn’t ever remember what color his eye was – sometimes he had “purple eye,” My favorite was “blood eye.”) We went to bed that night feeling prepared for our church Christmas program the following morning. They were all set to sing their little Christmas hearts out. Gus crawled into my bed around 4 am and puked. All over me. All over the bed. All over everything. And then laid back down in it. You know, three year old stuff. Hank made it to the program and sang like an angel. Gus puked again and then slept until noon. He was fine for the rest of the week. I missed the program.
The weekend before Christmas we had a beautiful celebrations with both my family and John’s. Things were turning around, only 2 days until Christmas day.
On the 24th our dishwasher stopped working. Just in time for us to have a Christmas eve party that night. On the 29th our heater stopped working. And did you know it costs double to have someone fix a heater on the weekend? Ugg. That same day, half the electricity went out in our house. Because a penny fell behind Hank’s dresser, lodged between a plug in and a wall socket, melted between the prongs of the plug in, and blew the fuses. I couldn’t make that shot if I tried it a million times. But happened here.
But it was Christmas. So I had to stop. I had to stop and look around to see what I was really experiencing.
When Hank cried through his program, his friends patted his back and asked if he was okay. His teachers hugged him. Before he went to bed that night he said “Thanks for not getting mad when I got scared.” He feels safe and loved. He has friends that care about him. That is better than saying a line in a Christmas program.
Gus collected sickness and I missed work and the program. But I had my mother in law right in town to help me out. I had a husband, parents, and inlaws that are such a big part of Hank’s life that he didn’t care at all when I wasn’t able to watch him at the Christmas program.
My dishwasher stopped working. What a ridiculous thing to even complain about. On Christmas Eve I was blessed with a house full of family. A house full of family that doesn’t care about a sick full of dishes. When I brought dinner to our single neighbor that night, I was 100% sure he would trade his dishwasher for my family.
I won’t call the heater and the electricity ridiculous. When you live in the great state of South Dakota, no heat on a 2 degree day is not great – or safe. But I have a creative husband who took the boys to a high school basketball tournament all morning where they could watch some games and stay warm (and eat popcorn at 9 am). And no electricity in the kids bedrooms when it gets dark at and stays dark til 7 am, isn’t ideal. But when you go without it for a few days, you really start to appreciate it.
On the big day – the one that I had been waiting for with such anticipation – we slept in. We stayed in our pajamas, and we went to a movie. The boys ate popcorn and drank Sprite. We had a perfect Christmas. The kind that really makes you dig down and think about what you’ve been blessed with.
I pray you all had a Christmas of blessings.