The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

"'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse....."

We all know how the poem goes. We all know the calm and peaceful scene that is set before us. Everything wrapped and ready. Everything in its place. Everyone fast asleep. No kids tossing and turning and whining and waking in the middle of the night. No trips to the bathroom. "Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!" A great hush amidst the anticipation.

Obviously written by a man. Or at least by someone who purposefully skipped over the night before the night before Christmas. You see, I know my family is not alone in the mad scurry that happens this time of year. Usually it is nonstop for weeks around here. There is dashing and dancing, but not from any reindeer. And it all falls down to one night: the night before Christmas, when parents all over the country are up to the wee hours of the morning, working like crazy to make sure everything is wrapped and ready and in its place. And if Christmas Eve is calm and relaxed like in that beloved poem, then that mad dash had to happen previously, right?

Well, this year I took a different approach to Christmas. Why all that hustle and bustle? Usually by now, my cards have been sent, cookies have been baked and frosted, I've hosted a party or two, been to a few others, twisted time in order to be at three kids' winter parties at once (while still magically caring for the other two), hosted a recital, practiced violin for Christmas Eve, all while doing some sort of advent study, reading and writing and who knows what else.

This year was different. And thankfully so as I spent the last week managing a house with several different icky viruses going through it. Kurt had the flu, Madeline had a stomach bug, Liam had a combination of both, Lilly and Aidan are sporting lovely coughs and Solly is now chasing his nose all over as it constantly runs down his face. Good, good times.

Today, as I pondered what still needed to be done, I realized that I still need to somehow scrunch everything but the shopping into the next 24 hours. And yet I sit here in the great hush, awaiting the excitement of tomorrow, the day before Christmas. And I am calm. Because I have a constant reminder in my heart of the meaning behind it all. (Hint: the craziness is not it.) And I don't intend to do it all. And maybe because everyone else is asleep! (Woo hoo! It's ME time!) And because I managed to clean out our pantry today. And now I have a place to crawl into and hide for the next two, long, kids-out-of-school weeks. Unless of course I make it to the grocery store tomorrow and then I am stuck having to suck it up and do what good moms all over the country do at winter break: take a deep breath and remind myself that these are the best of times, they don't last forever, hold on tight and enjoy the ride. Oh, and lock the kids outside. They really need some fresh winter air.

Here's to a calm and peaceful Christmas. May your joy be full. May love abound.

Merry Christmas.

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