Merry Christmas

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other” ~Burton Hillis

Christmas is

Listening, eyes shut tight, while laying in bed, for the sounds of Santa

Sitting in Grandpop’s lap while he reads “Twas the Night Before Christmas”–

the snow gently falling outside

Debbie, Michael and I, waking at 3 a.m. to share opening our stocking gifts together
long before the morning light

Mom listening the whole year through for what we really wanted for Christmas,

all the things we’d long forgotten,

when we didn’t even realize she was listening

Creeping downstairs to sneak a peak at the gifts before our parents awoke

Anticipating an engagement ring wrapped in a tiny, red box

Anthony & I opening gifts on Christmas Eve because we couldn’t wait for

Ryan’s second Christmas, awakening after his nap to discover the whole family,
gasping, “Everyone I wuv”

After opening presents, Tyler declaring, “We must have been really, really good
this year”

Alexa taking great care to leave just the right cookies & hot chocolate for Santa,
never forgetting carrots for the reindeer

Morning letters from Santa, recapping the year past

Reaching out of the windows in the kids’ rooms

to implant the tracks of the elves footprints, so when they awakened,

they’d know Santa had sent the elves to be sure

Ryan, Tyler and Alexa were fast asleep

Lazy monkey bread Christmas mornings investigating the gifts we’d gotten from
under the tree

Christmas Eve food extravaganza of shrimp, lobster, clams, crabs, tuna, mussels,
cod… cheesecake, mulled cider, cookies & candy aplenty

The piles of gifts for each child across the family room because our family had
grown, grown, grown

Untangling the Christmas lights, fighting over where to put them on the tree

Building and assembling the Dicken’s village, then standing back to watch it aglow

Picking up the fallen tree and broken ornaments, realizing that, while sentimental,

they didn’t really define Christmas

Lighting candles to remember those we lost

Tracking Santa as he moved across the world, anticipating what time to go to sleep

Looking around to see each and every face of those we love so much

Being together, putting all differences aside, to simply be

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