10pm on Christmas Eve and the only ones stirring are the adults. Grant and his Dad are putting together Purslane's play kitchen- complete with allen wrench and swears. Grant's Mom is sipping tea on the couch watching White Christmas and I am in the kitchen making a sour cream coffee cake. A mound of presents sit wrapped on the table ready to be put under the tree after we finish sweeping up the extra pine needles one more time. And the babes are asleep in their beds after opening one gift and lighting the last advent candle. Pursy laid out cookies and was adamant that Santa wanted juicewater to drink- despite Grant's desperate encouragement that Santa would prefer bourbon.
This is the first year that I realized the roles are officially switched. I am the grownup that ensures Christmas is magical for my children. When I was growing up, my biggest responsibilities were making sure I picked out the perfect gifts for my parents at the Christmas gift shop at church- I still remember, as I'm sure my mother does, the huge pink earrings I picked out for her one year. And, although I'm pretty sure I didn't get this at the church gift shop, the wool cigarette holder I gave her because I thought it was a wallet. I still remember standing in line at Payless and the cashier asked my mother why she kept her money in a cigare ******shhhhhh! my mother put a finger to her lips and motioned towards me. With an understanding smile, the cashier made some placating remark about what a LOVELY wallet it was and what a LUCKY mother she was to have such a thoughtful daughter. It was the first time I remember realizing that my mom gave up her personal pride to protect my feelings.
That's what parents are supposed to do. Wear the macaroni necklace to work and use the handmade clay dish for whatever role it can play most prominently. And they do it for their kids. Because they love us and realize the magic only lasts for so long. And tonight I realized that I am the adult. This year is Grant and I creating the magic for them, picking out the perfect gifts for them, and making sure when they come down the stairs in the morning their living room is transformed into a Christmas fairy tale. This year, it is Christmas Eve and it's my turn. And we still have all the years ahead of us when Pursy and Knox make gifts for us or pick out things they think are the bees knees and we agree because we find more delight in their gifts then any expensive trinket.
This year is my turn to fill the stockings with gifts I wrapped weeks ago. My turn to buy the Christmas feetie pajamas and cover my children's little bodies in them before tucking them into bed with kisses and promises of Santa and presents. My turn to stay up late and wake up early. My turn to sit with my family during the Christmas Eve service and watch their faces in the glow of the candles as we sing Silent Night. My turn to put presents under the tree and drink another Sam Adams Winter Brew while Grant asks me repeatedly if I stuck to our budget for gifts for each other. I never do. He is into so many things and I love indulging his interests. Since he won't read this until after tomorrow morning, I will give myself best wife of the universe award and tell you that I (very stealthily and with the help of my dear friend, Katie) acquired a first edition bottle of Wigle Whiskey that is now wrapped and happily under the tree being aged one more night.
Time for bed. I am giddy with the anticipation of tomorrow morning. New traditions that Grant and I are trying out with Pursy and Knox, and old traditions that we are carrying into the next generation. Twas the night before Christmas and I need to get to work.