It’s Christmas Eve morning and all through the house not a creature is stirring not even a … wait. I’m pretty sure there are spiders stirring in the basement and I’m sitting here typing so there’s that, too. There is also a fish in a bowl in the kitchen I am trying desperately not to kill while the kids are away. (So far so good but I make no promises …)
What is not stirring is my little people. They are not here. The house is a little too quiet and clean. I haven’t had to run the dishwasher or wipe pee off of a toilet seat in days. I haven’t tripped over a video game controller or stepped on Lego piece in what seems like forever.
This is my first Christmas in about 12 years where the innocent excitement of Santa isn’t in the house. Yesterday I finished wrapping gifts and the majority of them are already placed perfectly under the tree. When I get home from family time tonight I’ll stuff two stockings and bring the boys’ presents down as we still need a little Christmas magic and surprise.
The twins are off in California with their dad, the big boys come back to me today and will stay until tomorrow afternoon. So is the holiday season of a divorcee. I know I’m not alone in this journey … I have so many friends in similar situations although mine being across the country this year is a little different. Historically I have always had the kids on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning so this is a first as well.
It’s not all bad. This is first Christmas Eve since returning to CT that I don’t have to work. (I will be gracing the anchor desk tomorrow, though. I volunteered knowing the kids would be away.) There is also tremendous joy in knowing these changes mean my kids are growing up, we’re all still here, and part of the journey of life is going through these stages.
Let’s talk about Aidan. He will be 15 next month. He is sarcastic, witty, quick, smart and much more me than his father. Our bond has changed so much in the last couple of years … he’s the man of the house when it comes to reaching things off of high shelves, taking out the garbage, watching his siblings and looking after me. He’s protective, defensive and thus far doing a really phenomenal job of transitioning from child into man. (Don’t get me wrong, he is still often found sprawled out on the kitchen floor, flailing like a fish out of water, but instead of that being a temper tantrum it’s just being silly, a child and often some of our best conversations happen then.)
I digress … back to thoughts on Christmas as I have to hurry up and finish this so I can head up to mom’s to prep a turkey.
A few days ago I found myself with some one on one time with Aidan. We had attended an important event at his high school where he chose his course of study for the next 3 1/2 years. (It’s a technical school and he chose Information Systems Technology … earning the highest grade out of everyone and so I get bragging rights.) To celebrate I took him to Hooters because that is what your mom does when your mom is me.
He was animatedly talking about the holiday. Even at 14 the magic and excitement of the holiday is alive and well but the conversations are a little different. We had a very serious discussion about the right way to sneak presents quietly down the stairs so as not to wake the children and we also learned what pancake ass is. (Really …. the orange shorts/tights combination is not flattering.) Tis the season for important life lessons someday I hope he will pass on to his children.
He also wanted to know if I drank the milk and ate the cookies. I explained you never drink the milk … just pour it down the drain … and you take a bite or two out of the cookies and then bury the remnants deep into the garbage can so as not to let little eyes find the evidence. Then you strategically leave a few crumbs on the plate and call it a night. He seemed in awe and impressed with the level of dedication we parents put into keeping the Santa tradition alive.
Aidan then told me even though the twins are not here he still wants to leave out cookies and milk. I smiled, thankful for this amazing young man, his big heart and how much he makes me laugh. (And shake my head.) I then told him if he wants better presents he should consider leaving wine and cheese and crackers …
Cheers to new traditions and life moving forward!