Saturday, December 24, 2011

Late Christmas cards and playing Santa by Sharon O'Donnell

I missed my deadline earlier on Saturday because I was in the midst of trying to get our Christmas card photo done so that by the time we send them out, they will only be three days late instead of four. Such is life. It's so difficult to get all 3 boys together for a photo with one in college and one busy with high school basketball. But we finally did it on Friday -- we took some photos for the card of the 3 boys and our dog -- only to find that the pics came out too dark. So today (Saturday) we went back to the drawing board and tried to take it out on the porch. For some reason, the guys' either had really fake smiles or their eyes were half closed -- maybe too much sunshine to squint into. So we moved inside and finally got a decent shot. They'll go in the mail the day after Christmas but hey, the card does say Merry Christmas and happy holidays so technically, it won't really be late until after New Year's, right?

And here I am up at 2 in the morning on Christmas because I've finally gotten everything done: presents wrapped, stockings stuffed, cooking done -- but I can't go to sleep. Every year, I find myself reflecting at this quiet time about how the many other Christmas nights of playing Santa and how I so treasure those times when the boys were small. Yes, I thought I would go stark-raving mad if I had to wrap another Power Rangers toy, but oddly now, I have a soft spot in my heart for them. At church tonight at the Christmas Eve service, I couldn't help but look at my 20 year old and then my 17 year old and think 'wow, life is going to change for all of us as they grow up and move away' and I thought to myself, "Savor this time, remember it, memorize it," which all made it somewhat bittersweet. I've told my son who is a senior in high school that all changes -- even good ones -- have an element of sadness too and that it's human nature to feel that way because time can't stand still. But at the same time, you don't want it too -- not really. You want your children to grow up and experience everything their adult lives have to offer - that's the way it's meant to be -- but it will always be tough for parents -- especially moms -- to deal with. I was telling my son this because as college gets nearer, I sense some fear of change in him. I'm not sure some times if my analogies work or not.

Better go to bed now. Christmas mornings are tough with age gap kids because the older teen-age ones want to sleep late even though it's Christmas, while the younger ones like my 11 year old still like to get up at the crack of dawn to see what Santa brought. Excited little boys don't want to wait for their older brothers to wake up, and the older boys are like zombies when awakened too early, so it is always hard to time everything. But I think I'm with the older guys on this one.

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