When you're a kid, you're not in control of anything. Not even yourself most of the time. You open all of the things. You eat all of the candy. You feel overwhelmed beyond belief and before you know it, you're discovered in a sugar coma, covered in wrapping paper and clutching a cassette tape of Shaun Cassidy's greatest hits and a Walkman with no batteries. Your parents will leave you there. It's a safe place for you to be. That was the year that I discovered Da Doo Ron Ron.
Despite the pure, undiluted excitement of all things Christmas that would always end in overstimulated crying fits and a need to be carried to bed in the brand new pajamas that still had the tags on them, it was always the best feeling ever (until it was horrible but no one ever remembers that very last part because by then you've ingested so many chocolate-covered marshmallows that you're in black-out mode and can not be held accountable for your actions). And as soon as that's over, then you start looking forward to next Christmas and wondering how the adult humans could possibly out-do the awesomeness that was this year.
Somewhere along the lines, you discover that you're in control of yourself. That's when teenagers get moody and hate everything. To the parents of teenagers, you should know that they don't really hate everything--they're just practicing the fine art of choice. It's new to them. Be patient.
Then you get even older and you move out and you get to be completely in control of yourself and you get to recognize and then create for yourself a good time. Some people still get hopped up on sugar and dive into presents and that's fine because I think everyone should get to do whatever they want on Christmas. Even grown ups. Some people like to get completely hammered and grope strangers. Trust me--it happens. I like to stay uber low key and appreciative. I like to celebrate with presents and food on Christmas Eve so that on Christmas day you can sit around in your pajamas and reflect or watch movies or cook lots of food for my friends and not do the dishes. That's what I like. Christmas Eve is especially nice now that I have so many nieces and nephews. They say the greatest things and they love you so much and they're so happy and excited. Genesis knows that her presents don't come from Santa but I still pretend like he's real. Consequently, I think she thinks that I believe in him and she's trying to protect me from the truth.
There's something about having your friends over for breakfast that I prefer to having dinner with them. Waking up with someone you love: there's nothing that can relate to that sort of satisfaction. Every bed in my house had more than one person in it and then extras came up for breakfast. We lounged and talked and stared at the wall and coo'd at Owen and made so many dirty dishes and piled them up in the kitchen and pretended that they didn't exist. Not minding the mess is the most beautiful reality of honest friendship.
And then, after most everyone had left I had three glasses of wine and a chocolate Christmas tree on a stick which is a nice, floaty way to put yourself down for bed--especially when you're not quite all alone yet.
Probably one of my most favorite days.