…because, after all, the Wise Men have gifts that must be delivered. (He also thinks it’s the funniest thing ever that the shepherd’s staff broke off and now it looks like the shepherd is pointing accusingly at everyone.)
There are things I don’t want to forget like heading to the playroom at a Christmas party to see how Vincenzo was getting along and having the adults say, “Is this kid yours? He’s awesome!” And driving downtown, when he said breathlessly, “Mom, do you see the lights? They’re beautiful.” Riding the tractor at the tree farm when he saw a ditch of water and exclaimed, “Look Mommy! A waterfall!” Him wanting us to read the Grinch over and over and over again and correcting us every time we read the title, saying, “It should say ‘How the Grinch Tried to Steal Christmas.’” Bringing our tree home and Vincenzo smelling it, saying, “Mmmmm, it smells so good I wish I could eat it!” Decorating our tree and him creating a ranking system where his favorite ornaments get put on the higher branches—which explains why our angel topper has a motorcycle ornament hanging from her halo this year. Vincenzo pointing out Jesus doesn’t have an “activity cord” in the nativity book we read to him. How in his letter to Santa he added, “Whatever you bring me I will like. You see, I’m not really picky.” Making Christmas sugar cookies in ghost shapes because…because…actually I have no idea why. Because Vincenzo decided to.
It is surreal being a parent during Christmas time. You realize that the little things you do without even thinking about them are actually making Christmas for your kids. You feel the burden of making the season magical, and you feel anxious that you’re going to forget something—a present or a return letter from Santa or the rum for the Egg Nog. Christmas Eve comes and you realize that if you don’t fill the stockings and hang them up when your kids are in bed tonight, Christmas actually won’t come for them and this scares you because, frankly, you’re tired are considering just forgetting it and going to bed.
But you fill them, even if it’s just with $.55 boxes of Kraft mac ‘n cheese, and you get a couple hours of sleep before your kids wake up and blink at their bulging stockings and think—no, believe—that something magical happened while they slept and that this one person who never forgets a single boy or girl came through once again. Because as tired and as stressed out as we are, we could never ever forget our own little boy or girl.
That’s where the real magic is.