Last night, we reminisced about those years of late night Christmas Eve toy building, of anticipation and unrestrained joy in our young children on the days and nights leading up to Christmas morning. We remembered the years when one child would wake at 2:00 am, unable to go back to sleep and incapable of holding in his or her excitement for the day that lay ahead. And in their joy, the one could only scream and wriggle and dance and giggle until all three were up and bouncing off the walls at which point Steve or I would wake and threaten to cancel Christmas. And this brought on greater fits of laughter and silliness until we all were up, bleary-eyed parents and cloud-walking kids trashing the living room as gifts were opened and tossed aside to make room for another. And this would go on all day as we made our rounds to family or family came to us. It was mayhem, and, in hindsight, it was wonderful. And it was short-lived.
Last night, when Steve and I finally went to bed at 2:00 am after a lovely evening, I again thought of those years and fell asleep slightly sad that tomorrow we would have no small children with us. But this morning, I was reminded that each Christmas brings a new gift, an unexpected surprise, a new joy and a new understanding of this beautiful season of giving. Instead of late night toy builiding, we enjoyed time with family. Instead of waking to kids unable to hold back from their gifts, we woke when we were ready (except that last one who needed to be yanked out of bed). Instead of kids ripping through their own gifts, they enjoyed watching their parents and siblings unwrap gifts carefully chosen and paid for by themselves. This year, our children were givers first and even in their receiving gave the gift of full appreciation for the giver and the gift.
This year, this Christmas, brought a deeper dimension to our meaning of Christmas and this lovely season of giving.