“Mommy, can we see if Santa ate all the cookies?” was the first thing my son asked me the morning after Christmas with a twinkle of sleep still in his eyes. Santa visited our house one day late as we traveled on the holiday to see grandparents, aunts, uncles and little cousins.
We hopped out of bed racing to the living room. I was at a disadvantage as I needed to first scurry to find my glasses. Beneath the tree three eager bodies convened. A little girl, a little boy and their mommy stared in delight at the crumbs left ever so precisely on the plate.
“Did he eat all the cookies?” I asked to confirm.
“Of course he did!” Jordan exclaimed undeniably.
It was only the night before while tucking my daughter into bed, I added an addendum to our night time litany. Bending over to give her a hug and kiss, I reminded, “Madelynn, it is very important to go to sleep right away. Santa Clause is coming.”
She finished my thought that I didn’t realize needed finishing, “To town?”
“Yes,” I smiled, “To town. Just like the song. He is coming to town…hopefully to our town!
She smiled back.
"Good night!” I emphasized.
Two minutes later my two-year-old sugar plum was found sneaking out of bed to the living room, not fully grasping the concept that he sees you while you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake! I was trying to enjoy two full minutes of reading when she grinned with a sheepish expression asking, “Santa, come yet, Mom?”
“Not yet. Good night, Miss Maddi. Go back to bed.” I replied trying to not look up from my cooking magazine.
I heard the pitter-patter pattern of her feet bringing her back to bed as she sang with some difficulty pronouncing the letter “w”, “Tinkle, tinkle…little star.”
And so the magic began.
Back by the Christmas tree my kids were fascinated by the newly-found treasures. One of their favorite surprises was the gift of a guitar left for each of them. Just them. Jordan immediately asked, “Is it a magic guitar like my daddy’s?” He still remembers that daddy played guitar.
Maddi was chiming for the attention of someone to look at her pink guitar intoning with a sing-song voice, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah! Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah! I got guitar, too!” What would a morning be without a bit of sibling rivalry?
They serenaded me for a moment with their new musical instruments and all the while I wished Shawn could have been there; to hear the song, to clap at the end and maybe even tune each one before they had started! But, this is not how our Christmas was and amongst my heart’s quiet wishes, I listened intently to two little bundles of energy as they played for me their invented songs out of tune.
Somewhat like our lives, still feeling out of tune, out of sync, and often out of rhythm, their songs fit into how I felt. Change is a slow process to accept.
And so this was Christmas.
For my children, the day was spent wondering what to play with next. For me, I tried diligently to focus only on the moment. If I had let my mind wander – wondering what comes next, I would have most likely been whisked out of the Christmas music magic into a separate world reserved for panic.
My last thought before we were all tucked back into bed that night was to remember the gift found in one day….cookie crumbs, magic guitars, a private serenade and little stars.