Will my boys be too old to wake up in the still dark house, creeping to open their stockings, the glow of the Christmas tree the only light in the house? Will they be too old to wake us up ridiculously early, eager to be opening presents? Will they be too old to stay awake most of the night, whispering to each other about what is under the tree for them?
Each year I wonder if this will be the year. The year that I have to wake them up and drag them to participate in family gift opening. The year that they slink away back to their rooms after the presents are unwrapped. The year that they refuse to participate in carol singing and Christmas story reading and matching pajama wearing.
I'm happy to say, this year was not that year.
At ages 12, 8, and 2, the holiday magic is still going strong.
Christmas Eve found us around the tree, singing carols together and unwrapping the traditional gift of Christmas pajamas.
(Okay, fine. Bug does feel he is too old for matching pajamas. But apparently not too old for gorilla slippers.)
We finally shooed the boys to bed, only to hear giggles from their room for a long while after. We told them any time after 4 am, they were welcome to get into their stockings, but they were not to wake us up until 7 am.
At 6:58 am Christmas morning, all three boys came bounding into our room.
Monkey stopped short, staring at our alarm clock. "No!" he shouted, "That clock is wrong. It says 7 on the stove clock!"
Amid the flurry of ripped wrapping paper and empty boxes and squeals of delight, I just sat there and tried to take it all in.
There is still so much magic on that day.
Each year, the holidays feel so stressful. There is so much pressure to create perfect memories. Each year, I hope that I'm doing enough, but at the same time, fighting back against taking on too much. Each year, I'm wondering if I'm doing a good job.
We've scaled back a little more each year, both to decrease the feeling of commericalism and to save our own sanity. I always hope we're doing the right thing.
And each year, when I see my children's faces light up, their wide bright eyes catch the Christmas lights, I know that it's all worth it.
They'll have this memories to last forever. At least longer than Pokemon will be popular.
After all the gift opening, I walked by our hall chalk board that had our Christmas count down, the one that the boys had meticulously updated each night for the last month. The number of days until Christmas had been changed. The "1" was smudged out, and in sweet little kid handwriting, was "365".