Friday, December 29, 2017

Merry Monday

My eyes blinked into the morning light on Christmas Day. Yes, you read that right: morning light.

For the first time in years, no child rushed into our bedroom on December 25 until after the sunrise. When I asked my husband what time it was as Owen impatiently shifted his weight from foot to foot, he told me 7:00. Seven?? If we had a rooster, he'd have crowed long ago. Parents across the country were already picking up wrapping paper and starting breakfast, some even going back to sleep. Heck, it even took a few minutes for the boys to rouse Nora enough to realize what day it was.

I think it was the combo of Christmas Vigil Mass, followed by an obsession with the Santa tracker app.

While there was a bit of discrepancy between me and Santa when it came to this year's nice list, everyone's stocking was full. Nathan was shocked to see a "stinking Nintendo Switch" in his pile, and had this face on, patiently waiting to get his mitts on it while his siblings finished first:

Nora was able to get the big, pink Hatchimal she requested first-hand from the big guy {he was shocked to find one on sale at Target just weeks before}. We were all excited to see what would happen, so we rubbed the egg. We carried the egg around. We shared pancakes with the egg. When it finally cracked, it revealed a surprise: twins! Had Jonathan and I looked, the packaging would have told us. More fun this way, really.

Owen's Santa present this year was a doozy. A parental-supervision-required doozy. Santa took it a step up from the Red Rider and got Owen a .22 rifle. We hooked him up with a camo jacket and camo boots and he was that much closer to his dream of a hunting trip with Dad. Once the floor was halfway clear of paper and the pancake dishes were in the sink, we trekked outside to test it.

{I'd leave out the part where I nailed the target on my first shot, but how else would you know I'm a dead-eye?}

Jonathan said Owen needs to work on his stance, but I was so impressed with the safety he showed. He took his listening very seriously and he was super proud to make the target spin several times. He's always been interested in hunting, so I can't wait to see what kind of adventures his dad takes him on this year.

We had such a blast emptying stockings with the kids this year. The night before, when we were waiting on Santa to arrive, Jonathan and I were talking about this being the most magical Christmas yet. Each kid is old enough to really get into it. Sure, they're excited about presents, but I love seeing this family unit growing its own traditions. Everyone lives for the family time. I mean, they were elated to wear matching pajamas and take self-timer photos on the living room floor.

It reminds me of Christmas mornings when I was a kid, and I pray that I'm using these years to instill the same magical memories my parents made for me. I had frequent flashbacks of me and my brother while sitting on the couch watching my own children, so I hope I'm doing it right.

I think the best Christmas parallel I saw this year, though, was a pew full of family at Mass. As I listened to the parish sing of all being calm and bright, I looked at my kids' faces. Our section was still and quiet, but the Holy Spirit sparked the air. Our priest read from the book of Matthew about the birth of Jesus Christ, when all was still and quiet, and the Holy Spirit lit into the night sky and shined in the heavens. When the Word became flesh. When a tiny baby was born and the world was changed forever.

It will always be fun to pile in the car and look at Christmas lights, to watch Elf six dozen times, and to delight in watching someone open the perfect gift, but I think my favorite Christmas tradition is to remember the first:

"All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means "God is with us."

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