Remember my Greta Grinch? Yeah – well – she emerged again Christmas morning.
First, I was pissed at myself for having to wake up 4am to wrap gifts because I drank too much egg nog and fell asleep Christmas Eve (and with my luck my kids would wake up at 5am). Then, I was pissed at my husband (it’s always his fault) because he too drank the egg nog and fell asleep before washing the dishes, cooking the macaroni and cheese, yada yada… In addition, I hadn’t finished decorating the Christmas tree, the house wasn’t completely clean, and my in-laws had already arrived.
My parents didn’t come this year, and my mother-in-law had to take care of her dad – so the robust Christmas meal was going to be pared down. We barely grabbed the last ham at Walmart the day before, and couldn’t find the 12” boy bike that my parents wanted me to buy my youngest. PLUS … two days before, my in-laws also charged me with buying the boys’ gifts. Christmas Eve didn’t go as planned. We got started late, the stores closed early. So, between me working, buying other gifts, and not taking time off – I didn’t get everything done!
Finally, at 4am on Christmas morning, I pulled out the little bit of gifts I purchased a month ago and put them next to our fake, pre-lit, half-decorated Christmas tree and prepared to wrap them. Scissors? Check. Tape? Check. Wrapping paper??
AHA! AHA! Something else I had NOT done… buy wrapping paper.
I thought, “That’s it! CANCEL CHRISTMAS!!” We all know that kids enjoy unwrapping gifts just as much as receiving gifts! It was one thing to have a minimal amount of gifts (I was okay with that) – but for them to be unwrapped? I had one opened roll left over from last year and no bows, no gift bags, no newspaper, no gifts from the grandparents, no big Christmas meal, no mom and dad!
I sat in the middle of the floor – chin in hand, lip poked out – feeling inadequate and defeated.
Then I remembered Christmases past – dating back to my childhood – and recalled memories of holiday perfection. A glistening tree perched above boxes upon boxes with ribbons and bows, breakfast sausage and grits on the stove and a turkey cooking in the oven, relatives rummaging about in terry cloth robes – all of this before I even woke up!
It was a far cry from where I was sitting. I was feeling solely responsible for my kids having one of the worse Christmases ever.
But, my husband got up, cleaned the kitchen and got the macaroni and cheese going. He even had an extra roll of wrapping paper in our truck! I wrapped the gifts before the boys woke up, went to an early morning church service and heard an awe-inspiring Christmas message. I was reined in from the hysteria and centered in the real reason for the season. I felt an unexplainable joy, thankfulness, and urge to get home and celebrate with my family – gifts or no gifts, meal or no meal. It didn’t matter.
We ate at my brother-in-law’s house and honestly – there was more food than I could have imagined! My mother-in-law was even astounded. And my kids were in heaven – being showered with little knickknacks, and games, and ATTENTION.
I feel like we started with 5 loaves and 2 fish this Christmas – or rather, some trucks, a LEGO set, and a macaroni and cheese dish. Yet God multiplied it and made it more than enough. He truly went above and beyond – just as He did in giving the gift of His son!
I missed my parents and family – but my husband is a good man and his family is so humble and loving and sincere. It was probably one of the best Christmases we’ve had –ever.