Christmas eve morning...early, I wake and think of you. I lay in bed remembering our Christmas mornings together. In all the days of the the year, this is the day I miss you most. We would quietly creep down the stairs and I would put the coffee pot on for you and Jim and make tea for myself. I remember you still, sitting at the kitchen table in your red bathrobe, hair a bit funky, whose isn't when they first wake up, legs crossed, your pink pajama's peeking out as if to say hello, a look of excitement on your face. The feeling in the kitchen was one of great expecting, even in the silence that we were experiencing at that moment. The sun has not risen yet and so we wait.You lived not five minutes away from us for the last 15 years of your life, yet each Christmas eve you would sleep over. It was something we started when Chris was a baby and he didn't even know who Santa Claus was, but you came, and you stayed each year except for your last Christmas..I look back now and wonder who was more excited, you or the kids. Growing up we didn't have much. No gifts or toys during the year, no new clothes except at the beginning of the school year...we just didn't have the money but somehow, each Christmas a miracle came to be, and Santa always came to us. I don't know how you did it, but you were a big believer in the Christmas miracle and you always made it happen. So it was not surprising to me to see you excited when I had my own kids and Christmas once again became your joy. Not so much because of the gifts, but because of the excitement and laughter of the kids. You gift was my kids and when those little ones finally got up, you would move from the kitchen into the living room, always sitting in the red chair, with a dog tucked in beside you and just watch. It was like you turned into a kid again yourself. You had presents to open each Christmas also but you never opened them until later in the day when the entire family came...Christmas morning at my house was reserved for just being, in the Santa moment, with the kids. Finally when all the gifts for them were open and they had come to you to show you a special toy and you make plans with how you both would spend time with that gift, then after a million kisses and hugs, they would talk you into opening your stocking. I have never, even until this day, seen anyone take so long to open a stocking. They stood by your side as you reached in and pulled each little item out. You would study it and tell them how much you loved it and when you were going to use, read or smell it. Chocolate at the bottom was your favorite gift in that big old stocking and then as neatly as you unpacked it, you repacked it to take home with you. The kids loved that you were there. You made Christmas morning special.
So as the sun was rising, we were talking, about all the things that Mom's and daughter's share on a quiet early Christmas morning...what the day will bring, who will come, comparing one year to the next. How fast the kids are growing...then all of a sudden the silence is broken...little feet, sweet baby voices, calling from upstairs...Nana did Santa come yet. You yelled back, yes "yes he did and you better get down here quick"...and they would come running, the smiles were priceless the excitement un-containable as they greeted us with wow's and "this is just what I wanted"...in all this confusion Jim would work his way down the stairs, but you didn't notice as you just joined in the fun.
As I look back, those were priceless years, how fortunate Chris and Jenna were to have you celebrate each Christmas morning with them. To sleep over with them, in their beds and tell them the stories of Santa and how one year you told Chris that Santa and the reindeer were up on the roof and he believed you. I laugh about it now but if you said it, it must be true and who knows, maybe it did happen that way. Chris believed and that made it magical.
So, now I go to Jenna's each Christmas morning. No, I don't sleep over but I do get there before the boys wake up. It's an early morning call but no worries, I'm awake and ready. We drive over in the dark, again only five mintues away...wow, it just occurs to me the similarity of the distances between our houses, first my Mom's to mine and now mine to Jenna's. Jenna and I sit and talk like my Mom and I did, we work around the kitchen, sharing the same excitement as we wait for the boys to get up. Last year we had to wake Jaxson but this year he should be up much earlier. Then after hugs and kisses and a few photo's, I will take my place on the brown couch and watch the boys, as my Mom watched mine and the joy goes on...one generation to the next.
I find it pretty amazing how sometimes these thoughts come into my head so early in the morning. I find I do my best writing when I am in bed either falling asleep or just waking up. I think my mind is working when I'm resting but I also think that in those quiet, pre-conscience moments, is really when our love ones visit. Yes, I do believe that's true and what better time for my Mom to come clearly into my mind and heart than on Christmas eve morning...reminding me that she is close as we once again witness the Magic and Miracle of Christmas in the eyes and the hearts of the "little ones".