Its happened. I've regressed. But, not really.
I have always loved Christmas. I love the decorating. I love the good cheer, the music, the treats to eat, the presents - both those I get and those I give. I love Christmas Eve church services and the various family traditions that have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I always look forward to this time of year.
But. . . yes always a but. . .but its been a long time since I had "butterflies in my belly" as the big day approaches. Its been ages since I felt giddy with anticipation. I don't think I've peered at a calender counting down the waning days to "the" day since I had hair down to my waist that often found itself in pigtails. I just simply grew up. Christmas was still wondeful but the childlike awe it used to inspire in me had matured itself out of my system.
Three years ago as we prepared for Logan's first Christmas I started to get excited. I knew at a mere 6 months old he'd be too young to really get any of it. He'd have no real clue what those packages were under our tree and yet I went ahead and piled up a bunch of toys anyway. I knew I'd do more unwrapping that he would - his biggest contribution to the day being nothing more than chewing on his gifts and drooling on his new clothes. Yet still, his mere presence made Christmas a bit more exciting than it had been in recent years.
Last year he dove into his new gifts but didn't quite get the idea that the big jolly elf clad in red dropped some of them off while we slept. He didn't unwrap them himself - he pulled at paper and then handed the box to us to open for him. He played with his new toys but he didn't completely 'get it' all. It was fun for us to watch his joy. It was special. I looked forward to seeing his face on Christmas morning but it was more "adult waiting" than childlike glee.
This year is different. This year I sit here writing this nearly trembling with anticipation. I look at my calender and I see just three days left to 'the' moment when my little guy lays his eyes on his bounty and it starts to feel like those are three longest days of my life. That's a Christmas feeling I haven't felt in nearly two decades. The feeling that Christmas will simply just never arrive - that even a day is just too long to wait.
Logan is clearly excited. We talk now about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I map out the basic schedule for him so he knows what to expect - we go to church in the afternoon and you get to sit where the big people go on Sunday's instead of your classroom. Then we go to Grandma's house for dinner and you might even get a present to open there! When we come home you can have one present that Mommy and Daddy got you - at which point his eyes get wide and his face smiles from ear to ear. Then its bathtime...and then we put out cookies and milk for Santa, read our stories and go to sleep.
He intrupts me then saying happily "Santa will come into my house while I sleep and leave me presents. I get up in morning and I carry my stocking to the big bed then Daddy go see if Santa gone and we get to go open presents under the tree."
We talk about how presents will come from Mom and Dad also, and Megan, Grandma & Papa, aunts and uncles. We talk about how even Logan has bought presents to give the people he loves. He smiles and hugs me tight saying "I even picked you out pretty slippers Mommy." And I laugh as I kiss him back and say "Oh honey, its supposed to be a surprise, but thank you."
He then talks about how Santa will bring him lots of trains to play with and maybe Megan buy him a train too. He tells me how he's going to play until Grandma and Papa come over with more presents to open and then we'll play some more. He breathes in deeply and says in childlike wonderment "It Christmastime and soon it be Christmas. Today Tooday, then it Whenday, then it Thurday, then it Friday and Santa come when I sleep, then it CHRISTMAS!"
And I smile back at him with the same wonderment filling me up inside. I sigh and I tell him truthfully that today, being just Tuesday, makes Christmas morning seem so far away. I giggle with him - our foreheads pressed together - and say honestly that I really just can not wait to see what Santa will bring. We look over at his sister happily tugging on the rings of a toy she now adores. He says that Megan has been a good baby and will get presents too and I agree - she has and she will. Then I think to myself that in two years from now when Megan 'gets it' I wonder if I will burst in those final countdown days. I wonder if I will be able to handle the anticipation when there are two children gleefully awaiting their special morning. I wonder and I think that suddenly two years seems so very far away - but not quite as far away as three days seems.