Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

It's so strange -- and funny -- to be the parent at Christmastime. Even when I was grown and not yet a parent, Christmas at my parents' house was thrilling from Christmas Eve until we left town. 

And last night we did our third Christmas as parents, at a significantly less exciting pace, but no less joyful or merry. We took the girls to the 5 o'clock Mass in their adorable velvet Christmas dresses with the cute tights and patent leather shoes. Marta fussed all the way home, letting us know that she's usually sleeping at that time, and Berit dallied to get to bed after we made it through the snowstorm to our sleepy Christmas house. 

We packed the car, cleaned the house, washed the dishes, took showers. It was a lot like every other night of our lives, and it was funny to us. Time passed in a normal way, instead of the electric minutes we lived as kids on Christmas Eve. And when we set out the presents, I have to admit that they looked a little... puny. I mentioned this and Trevor said, "It's more presents than I ever got." And I thought, "Oh no, this is going to be a thing with us every year." Because when I was growing up, even when my mom was single and working a handful of jobs and we ate cereal for dinner, we still had amazing Christmases. I mean, the gifts spilled down the sides of the tree and filled the entire room. Balloons  guided our way to the Christmas tree, and our stockings were plump with fruit and small presents. So I was a little disappointed to see the few gifts we had gotten the girls sitting under the tree, on the tree skirt. 

But before you get all "materialism is killing imagination" on me, we rearranged things a little and they looked better. I just wanted Berit to come downstairs and be really excited, because at not quite three, how often has she seen a huge pile of presents, made in a workshop especially for her by a giant magical Santa Claus, placed under a glowing tree? Certainly never in her memory. (It did not escape me that she just may remember this Christmas, so I wanted it to make an impression.)

Anyway, Trevor and I went to bed wondering how the morning would go -- who would wake first? How would we deal with one if the other was still sleeping? 

As it turned out, Marta woke at 4:50 (a result of her going to bed so late, because with her, sleep begets sleep) and she largely ignored the presents because I let her play with Berit's dollhouse, which is off-limits when B's awake. At 6 I finally woke Trevor and Berit up, to the smell of coffee and cinnamon rolls. Berit was suitably amazed and delighted and, to my surprise, tore right into the present situation. I expected her to thoughtfully move from one to the next, pausing to play with each one, but no -- she was about quantity, and even said "Look, a book for Marta" or "Santa brought Marta a doggie" when she opened a gift (hers) that she was lukewarm about. Marta was getting cranky and was only minorly into her gifts, but is now pleased to have a few new books and animals to play with, post-nap. 

Berit said, while eating breakfast, "I wish Santa would come back and bring more presents!" Lucky girl, we still have both sets of grandparents to visit today. 

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