Christmas at home is:
Adults playing board games until 11pm, then babies waking up at 5:30am.
Prepping all day for a holiday gathering. High stakes, high tension, busy babies running through it all. Fighting between the older boys, peaceful play for the next two, smiley 8 month-old not sure if he is teething. Adults hold it together under stressful circumstances.
Christmas at home is nights with an 8 month-old: up at 1, 3, 5:45. Loud screeching and inconsolible. Whole house up, big boys included. Hey Kyra, don’t you want a third? Heh… not today.
First Christmas today: blue bird houses made by father-in-law. Can’t wait to put up! New coat picked by brother-in-law? Nice brand, pretty color, makes my ass look huge…swing and a miss. Little boys so love their watches. Little nephews so love their Hess trucks. Sister-in-law so loves her knitted shawl, and I’m so pleased with how it looks on her.
Christmas at home is weeeyoooweeyoooweeeyooo wooooop! CRASH, SMASH, NO IT’S MY TURN NOW! Four little boys, one behind the other, ripping and racing around the house with a vehicle in hand.
Disappointing text full of excuses. Father will miss his only opportunity to see his grandsons this year. I call, I listen, I articulate my frustration. “I expect to see you in Massachusetts in 2016.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
One more day here, then off to house number two, second and third Christmas. Boozy egg nog, voices with that sing-song cadence I miss, squeezes from arms 87 years old, little sister and artsy boyfriend in from Texas. Promises of food from my mother’s kitchen, which is the only food in the whole wide world that is ever worth eating.
Disappointments behind me, so much promise to come.
Church, then northward to the valley of my birth. Quiet house with just my two babies. Praying on a full night’s sleep.