Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Perfect Christmas

To my son Tommy,

Your mother has this picture of Christmas morning securely ingrained in her head.  She pictures you coming down with wide eyes and excitement as the flash of the camera futilely attempts to capture the magic of the moment.  She works so hard to create that moment for you (and her) because she remembers that moment from her childhood.  So when you woke up a little after zero three hundred hours this morning and refused to go back to bed and started down the steps,  you could almost physically see her dreams dashed.  Since the alternative of handcuffing to your bed seemed a bit extreme,  I told her we better get down and enjoy the moment for what it is.  One thing I have learned well over the past four years is that even the best laid plans can be dashed in a blink of an eye by even the most innocent actions of a child.

Luckily I had turned off the computer and the tree lights and the TV and every other light in the living room so there was only limited residual light from the bathroom lights being on down the hall.  You didn't even notice the rearrangement of furniture as you plopped down on the couch and asked for some water.  I gave you your water and wondered when you would notice you were less than two feet away from a huge pile of presents.  Your mother came down and was also confused why there was no commotion yet.  You were half in and half out when you asked for a graham cracker, still not noticing anything special like the two play kitchen sets that were roughly three foot high next to you.  On a side note the play sets have made it through probably around twenty years and now at least three of our families' households.  Your mother and I sat there in the darkness awkwardly wondering if you would fall back asleep before noticing that Santa had already fully stocked our house.  It took roughly one hour and it was roughly 4:30 before you were out enough to bring you back to your upstairs bed.

We had to wake you up in the morning, but this time the presents and kitchen set definitely caught your attention.  Our time table had been off a bit and your mother was a bit worried about being late for our visits to the other households for the day.  After a quick refocus on what is truly important about this day, we sat there and watched you open your gifts.  You made out like a bandit and perhaps were a bit spoiled with your spoils.  When tasked with picking just one gift to bring to your Bwama's house, you calmly piled up on one your kitchen sets with every piece of fake food and dish you own and informed us that this is the gift you decided to bring, so you could make breakfast for everyone.  After some negotiating that would have impressed a vendor in a Turkish flea market, we got you to agree to taking just the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine.

Three households later, and at least 50 miles travel under our belt, and tons of gifts later, and lots of hugs and holiday wishes from many family members, and tradition after tradition both old and new, you finally hit sensory overload.  Christmas holidays can be rough on even the most seasoned veteran.  You finally convinced your parents to get you home to enjoy some quality cuddle time ,before the reality of work or cleaning or just day-to-day life come screaming back in tomorrow morning.

Your mother has this picture of Christmas morning and even all of Christmas Day securely ingrained in her head.  She has this perfect picture and she strives to pass on this gift.  But I will tell you a little secret.  Though she has this perfect picture in her head, that is only because time has blurred all the stresses that happened to achieve those small perfect moments.  With the difficult erased by Father Time, only the magic remains.  When everything seems to be going wrong, you're late for this place or that, your pie isn't cooking, you forget a gift, and you are just sure that Christmas itself is ruined...simply take a big deep breath and remember the true meaning of this time of year.  It surprisingly turns out that often the imperfect moments are really the magic.  They certainly usually are the most memorable.  When you are all grown up and with kids of your own,  you can thank your mother for that memory of the perfect Christmas magic moment.  And if you ever need some reality thrown into that perfect memory, you can come ask me and I will tell you about 3:30 in the morning wake ups and parents that had to drink no less than ten cups of coffee to make it through the day.

To all our family members that make Christmas so special for our family, thank you and Merry Christmas!

Sincerely with love from you dad,

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