This December Rocco and Leo kept talking about “catching” Santa, despite me telling them Santa is not a leprechaun. You don’t get any gold for catching Santa Claus, you just don’t get any presents, and neither does anyone else. They’d answer by asking for some fishing line and a box of marbles.

And then ‘twas the night before Christmas. I kissed Leo goodnight and he said he was just going to stay up for a few hours until Santa came. Me, thinking of the next two hours I would spend making all the magic happen and how much more complicated that would be if someone dumped a box of marbles down the stairs, said, “No! No! You are not staying up for Santa! Just go to sleep!” Leo agreed, but he wasn’t happy about it.

Then at 11:30, after the magic had been made and I was settling down for my long winter’s nap, I heard a cough from Leo’s room. Not just a cough—a cough that also sounded a bit like a gag. Like there was something behind that cough. Then silence. I breathed out in relief. Kids don’t get sick on Christmas Eve, after all. That’s the rules.


Except that before my breath was even all the way out came the unmistakable sound of a kid throwing up. A kid throwing up a lot. I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter and there was Leo, in his brand new Pokemon PJs, covered in blech and with more on its way. We got him to the bathroom (he didn’t stop the whole way there) and watched as every Christmas cookie he ever ate in his entire life came up and out. (More rapid than eagles, the vomit it came.)

When it was all done he stood there, pale and shaky, and asked in a wavery voice, “Does this mean I have to miss some of the Christmas parties?” I wanted to wrap my arms around him and tell him not to worry about it, but even a mother’s love gets grossed out at the sight of that much vomit, so I forewent the hugging and skipped to the “don’t worry about it” bit.  On the way to the couch, I gave him peek at the overflowing stockings but you would have thought I told him to look at a pair of old socks for all he cared. Then Kevin and I returned to Puke City to clean up. It took a whole roll of paper towels and several white board game plans to get it all cleaned. We had to put his loft bed, frame and all, into the washing machine. I mean, I know Christmas Eve is all about the birth of the Christ Child, but this was an Ungodly amount of vomit. A “we’re going to have to repaint” amount of vomit.

The Ghost of Christmas Present can be a real you-know-what.

We then sprayed the bottoms of our feet, burned our clothes, and tucked Leo in again. We went back to bed and tried not to think about Leo maybe having to miss Christmas.

A few hours later what to my wondering eyes did appear but a rosy-cheeked Leo, his happy mood back. I breathed a sigh of relief, and this time made it all the way through. It was a Christmas miracle. Tiny Tim was going to live!

We got to go to all the Christmas parties after all, thanks to an understanding set of aunties and uncles. It was Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

But I think it’s safe to say Leo will think twice about trying to catch Santa next year.

Mexicorn Grits
Fruit and cheese plate

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