We helped the boys open their gifts this morning as they mastered the word 'present.' (Present? Present. Present!)
It's the last year we were able to take our time, sip our coffee, and clean the kitchen without facing accusations of torture. (Mom, Dad, C'mon!). The last time the boys didn't stay up too late the night before, tingling with an excitement they can feel down to their toes. The last year the ritual is not seasoned by their anticipation.
It's funny - I don't know when I lost it myself, although I remember it vividly. Trying to stay awake to listen for Santa's clatter on the roof. Lying in bed, restlessly moving my legs under the covers as I fight for sleep. Waking up too early and watching the hands of the clock move tortuously slowly towards 7 a.m.
But now Christmas is a day off. The culmination of too little time for shopping, and wrapping, and cleaning, and cooking, and family negotiations.
I'm not sure when it changed. Clearly it was something gradual, like the loosening of my mother's skin or the graying of my father's hair. The practical has superseded the magical. But seeing the boys' eyes widen at the sight of a box tied in red ribbons, their eagerness to tear off the paper, throws the difference in to stark relief.
I've heard it said so many times I have to believe its now an official cliche: you re-experience childhood through your children.
And now I can't wait for next year. I've regained anticipation.
PS Hubby just gave me crap for this over my shoulder. Apparantly it's too cheesy. Bah Humbug.
PPS Thanks be for nap and grandparents - the only way I would have a chance to set the table, AND have a moment to sit on the couch to gather my thoughts.