Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Merry Christmas, indeed

What does a ‘good’ Christmas look like? I think today’s photo just about sums it up. Our 9-month-old Baby of Mass Destruction flopped out exhausted on the living room floor.

Naturally, he woke up 30 minutes later and was then absolutely hell on wheels to get to bed. But after a big baby day of tremendous sensory overload – what with all of the grannies and grampies, the noisy toys, the bouncy toys and the vibrating toys – that wasn’t a surprise.

The whole family got together, of course, to help us welcome our new addition. Not to get too mushy or anything, but that was what made it our Official Best Ever Christmas. The last couple of years have been jam-packed with big change, and this Christmas just reinforced the message of how marvelous it has all been and how much I have to be thankful for.

OK, that’s the end of the mushy part.

This season was also, I believe, a harbinger of things to come. Nearly every holiday-oriented task (and a lot of the mundane things too) came down to a photo-finish this year. After 45 years of not much holiday hassle, year 46 started the process of payback.

I’ve never been big on last-minute shopping, but I did some this year. I can’t say ‘never again’, although I’d like to.

We were late arriving at our church’s Christmas eve service, despite the fact that we built an extra 30 minutes of ‘baby time’ into our planning. We should have built in 90 minutes. Argh. As one of the few churches in our neighborhood with a night-before service, the place was packed when we got there (it’s a small church) – almost standing-room only. By the time pastor showed up wearing his Magii turban and fake beard, there wasn’t a seat left open.

The ushers had long ago run out of programs when we arrived, so we spent the service guessing at the page numbers in the hymnal and trying to remember the rest of the liturgy from memory. The Missus, as a life-long Lutheran had fewer problems than did I (a Southern Baptist in remission). But I’m getting the hang of it, so I muddled through.

After the service, we had the usual potluck Lutheran Happy Hour. Some of the church ladies, bless them, made JC a beautiful little quilt. They love the heck out of the little guy, so he spent most of Lutheran Happy Hour getting passed around by all of the grannies. Fortunately, he’s never met a stranger and he responded the same way he always does when they line up to give him hugs – everybody gets a big baby smile and, if they’re lucky, a little drool or their eye-glasses grabbed.

Then it was off to the house and the joy of my first Christmas as Dad the Toy Assembler. Nothing too complex – some Fisher-Price gizmo that JC can either straddle and paddle around the room or pop up and walk behind. Still, we had put off wrapping most of our gifts until Christmas eve (BIG mistake), so the Missus and I were both up until around 2:30 getting everything done.

Next year, we will start wrapping gifts the day after Thanksgiving. We will plan better, clean faster, be more efficient. Blabbity-blabbity-blab.

Yeah, I believe THAT.

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