In spite of all the threats like “You’d better change for the better or Santa won’t stop here,” and in spite of the fact that the threatened ones didn’t change for the better, Santa did stop here.
About five a.m. We tiptoed into the bedrooms to place a filled Christmas stocking on each child’s dresser (it would have been earlier but Santa and Mrs. Claus got absorbed in trying out the new road race game) Eddy sat up and asked sleepily, “Santa here yet?” “No, go back to sleep so he can come.”
He was almost flat again when he bounced back up, “Where did you get the sock then?” “He got that much done and he had to leave. Go to sleep so he can come back!” Eddy collapsed again, and so did we.
At seven a.m. Billy and Bobby left to serve at first Mass after making us promise that we would keep the kids upstairs until they got home. At 7:01 the other kids were ready to go downstairs. “Don’t go downstairs or everything might disappear,” a foggy, adult voice ordered.
They decided to empty their stockings which were planned to keep them busy for thirty minutes. They took about five minutes, but then took more time looking over the contents of each other’s stockings.
Finally their Dad descended the steps to turn on the tree lights and the coffee water. His voice rose up the stairway, “Just what are you doing down here?” I was downstairs in a matter of seconds to see who had been brave enough to defy Dad’s orders to stay upstairs.
There stood our two-year-old baby, Jeannie, holding her older sister’s new plush kitten saying, “My baby.” “That’s Joyce’s,” her Dad said. “Where’s mine?” she asked. “Over there,” her Dad replied indicating the first pile of toys she had passed. She turned around, saw me, and pointing to her pile of presents she said, “Dat’s mine!”
By that time the kids still upstairs had managed to scoot down the steps until they could see the array of gifts under the tree and all around the living room. Finally their Dad saw our two early Mass servers coming up the front steps. “Okay you can come down!” he said as he moved out of their way.
The next few minutes would have been frantic even without sound, but with living, shouting, full-scale, stereophonic sound, it resembled a major riot amidst a storm of paper and ribbons.
Everybody liked everything he or she got. Everybody also liked everything everyone else got, a fact which led to a few minor battles during the day.
What was the rest of the day like? Well, let’s picture about five minutes. There was Jeanie trying hard to blow out the sparks shooting out of her brother’s friction robot. There were the three younger boys carefully hanging their new junior-size snow shovels on their new junior-size coat rack while their coats rested in their accustomed spot on the floor. “But Mom, we don’t want our new shovels to get messed up!”
At the same time the older four kids had their new transistor radios going full blast, each on a different station. And by this time Jeannie had given up on the robot and was trying to crawl into the new dolly stroller Santa brought for her. She finally gave that up when she fell out and skinned her nose. Then three-year-old Joe and four-year old John were loading candy in their new dump trucks, dumping it, eating some, and reloading the rest.
I was able to observe all of this very calmly. Actually I was so numb I was practically incapable of movement. But, good old Eddy woke me up. He gave me a bite of an “Incredible Edible” he had made. It was incredible that anyone would think these things were edible.
After I had assured Eddy that his cooking was fine he decided to do me a big favor. “You stay in bed tomorrow, and I’ll make you breakfast—a cup of tea, and a great big plate of incredible edibles!” It wasn’t easy, but I got up before Eddy did the next morning.
And now Christmas is gone and a New Year is almost here. All of us around our house hope it will be the best year ever for everyone at your house.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with her columns, Back Around the House and All Around the House. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.