On Christmas Eve

Once upon a time, on Christmas Eve, after the children had gone to bed and Santa had visited, I found myself dog tired. Dog. Tired. I took a few pictures of the wonderous scene of toys and gadgets that Santa had left for us, and took a deep breath in an attempt to breathe in the moment and hold it in my heart for a few beats. Then, I had every intention of going to bed.

I crossed the room to the hallway and turned off all the lights—save for the Christmas tree lights and decorations, and the light of Canon’s new fish tank.

These lights cast the most whimsical glow over the room and seemed to fill the air with magic. I paused, unable to move. Though my soft blankets and pillow were calling to me, I just… couldn’t go to them. Not yet. Because no matter how many minutes passed, my bed would still be there. But that moment… that moment wouldn’t be. The second I closed my eyes and drifted to sleep, however wonderful that might be, that moment would be gone. 

So I went back to the couch and sat across from the skeleton Canon had asked Santa for, right in between Dexter’s treasured healer from Halo and Oliver’s new book of letters. I looked over at the little Christmas tree on the piano, leaned my head against the couch and closed my eyes, and just let myself live for a moment, immersed in the quiet magic.

I thought about how time changes things. I remembered going to bed on Christmas Eve as a child, my heart full of a giddy hope and happiness, faith and light, anxious to discover the treasures Santa would bring.

I realized then that, the feeling of that moment, though I was all grown up, wasn’t much different. It was my treasures that had changed. I wanted, with all of my heart, to see joy on my children’s faces. To make sure the magic was the same for them as it had been for me, and try to absorb every smile, laugh and passing moment and hold it in my heart forever—to turn this thread in the tapestry of time into gold. Because these are the things worth living for. These are the moments that light the horizon, ushering in the dawn or breaking through the clouds. These are the true treasures of life.

I get busy. I get tired. I get exhausted as I try to heal on all levels. I feel like I’ve been fighting a cold for two months, but it has yet to amount to anything significant, all it does is make me tired—always. My house is in a constant state of messiness, shifting only from Hoarders-messy to less-messy, and sometimes the days disappear and I wonder what, exactly, I did. I know I was busy, but… why, again? I don’t remember…

When this happens, I lose sight of what is important. I lose sight of how fast my kids are growing and changing. I lose sight of how much I don’t want to suddenly find them all grown up, and wish I had been present when the sunlight of treasured-memories-in-the-making was breaking through the wind and clouds.

I’m so grateful I didn’t go straight to bed on Christmas Eve like I wanted to, so I could remember it today, before I finally take down my decorations and am forced to admit that another year has passed, and my kids are officially older. I’m grateful to be reminded to let some things go. I really, really need to let some things go. I mean, if I can’t even remember what’s making me so busy… maybe there are a few things I can change, so I can slow down and live immersed in what is truly important. There can be magic every day, if we allow ourselves to sacrifice a few things that can wait, for the beautiful moments that disappear all too quickly, like clouds carried away by the wind.