T’was the night before Christmas…
Okay, I’m not a poet but it was the night before Christmas on this one particular occasion. I’m the youngest of three. I shared a bedroom with my sister but my brother and I are closer in age, eighteen months, making us playmates growing up.
I asked if I could sleep in my brother’s room that night, the one closest to the front room where the Christmas gifts would some how mysteriously appear in the morning. He had a bunk bed but I wanted to sleep by the door, so I laid on the floor in a sleeping bag.
We all knew Santa wasn’t real and that Jesus was the real reason for Christmas but my parents like to pretend and we enjoyed it with them. This meant not a single gift was under the tree, expect for a box from my aunt.
Mom and Dad were always last-minute wrappers. I laid there feeling so excited,while they were busy trying to get everything ready, usually into the late hours of the night.
I’m not sure how I accomplished the incredibly difficult task of falling to sleep but somehow I must have. Santa never comes until you do, you know. I woke up early, everyone else still asleep. I always had been the early riser in the family. Everyone else could sleep until noon. Even at a young age, that seems like a waste to me.
I laid there agonizing, wanting so badly to peek down the hall but that wasn’t how we did it in my family. First everyone one got up and ate breakfast in jammies. The usual was Malt-O-Meal. It might be why I still like it today or it could be great amount of brown sugar I always put in it.
After we ate, did the dishes, dress and my grandparents arrived, then the anticipated moment would come where we walked down the hall as a family. I still remember the awe. Even on the years where my mother mentioned things were tight, the tree always looked packed and our stocking overflowed.
So here I am struggling with myself on this Christmas morning. My head only a foot from the door way. Maybe just one peek. It was killing me. I caved and decided to peek. Feeling guilt in my gut, knowing it would take a small piece of the wonder away of when we walked down that long hall, I pulled myself forward. Like a slug on the ground, I moved up just enough to stick my head around the corner.
To my relief, Dad had taken care of my lack of self-control. He had move the large recliner in the way, blocking my view. I actually felt thankful. I hadn’t ruined the Christmas tradition. The joy of anticipation that comes with the waiting was still mine. I never again tried to sneak a peek.