Christmas morning. It’s a morning of exhaustion, for those elves who’ve stayed up well past their near geriatric bedtimes to put together all of Santa’s toys. It’s a morning of anticipation for little ones as they try to contain themselves inside their rooms until the appropriate hour to awaken mom and dad, aka the elves. For our house, appropriate time is when the digital clock in the bedroom reads 7:00.
Christmas morning. It’s a morning of overwhelming excitement as children tear into their gifts, eager to see if the Santa at the mall, or the Elf on the Shelf, really does communicate with the “real” bearded fat man.
Christmas morning. It’s a morning of reflection on our lives, who we are, what we’ve been, and Who was born on this day to save us all.
Christmas morning for me? Well, that’s a whole different story, at least for this year. This Christmas, I spent it wrapped up under four blankets, while everyone else walked around in shorts and flip flops with the A/C blaring. It was 70 degrees and humid. And as the sweat dripped down my forehead, over my arms and down my chest, I shivered and ached away. For Christmas this year, the old fat man brought me a 102 degree fever and a case of strep throat.
My boys opened their gifts. Did I get to play with them? No. My family opened their gifts. I opened my gifts, although my fever had me a bit on the dopey side so I didn’t realize how wonderful my gifts were until Sunday. My husband made a fabulous French toast and sausage breakfast. It smelled good at least. My family (parents, aunt, cousins) came to enjoy Christmas dinner at my house. Me? I was quarantined upstairs. There was no fine China this year, no drinking from my grandmother’s crystal, no eating in the dining room, while listening to Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole croon. Instead they crowded around the kitchen table, but still enjoyed themselves all the same.
Today as I began taking down my Christmas decorations, an overwhelming sadness washed over me. I missed Christmas. In my 40 years on this earth, I’ve never missed Christmas. It saddened me, almost as much as it saddened me when we realized we would no longer have Christmases with my brother nearly 10 years ago.
The days flew by, the weeks were inundated with parties, gatherings, socializations, but I still felt empty and I was hoping for that Christmas magic on Christmas morning. I’m saddened over not enjoying a dinner with my family, it’s not every day when we’re able to get together like this. I’m saddened over no family pictures in front of the Christmas tree. We’re not guaranteed another day. Which one of us may not be here next year?
My boys were clueless to mommy’s absence, thanks to Santa and my family. I’m grateful for that. Truly, I am. I’m grateful for a family who gets along together so well that there was harmony between them and my husband in the kitchen. They were apparently like a well-oiled machine. “We just seemed to fit together,” my husband said. “Least amount of stress I’ve ever had in the kitchen.”
I suppose I should look at this bout of strep throat in a different light. At least it happened when my husband was home and didn’t have to work the next day. He was up every 3 hours trying to get my fever to break. At least I was able to actually get some rest while being sick, an anomaly in itself. In the end; however, I keep going back to one thought over this horrible Christmas…what did I do so wrong this past year for Santa to feel like I deserved strep throat as a present? How about just keeping me off your list altogether, Santa, if this is how it’s to be.
I hope you all had a wonderful, family-filled, waistline bulging, ugly sweater wearing, Christmas Story watching, action packed, and most of all BLESSED Christmas.