My Christmas Miracle
I was hoping for a Christmas miracle. It didn’t seem so huge at the time. It would require some assembly, some good luck negotiating with the union-organized shipping guys, and some sleeping kids.
Or, more specifically, two sleeping kids on the airbed that I’d set up in the family room beneath the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.
And I tried. I really did. But Lucy and Alice were having none of it. Who knew the shipping union guys were cream puffs by comparison? All it took was a little whining, and they got the beds delivered by 7 p.m. on the 23rd.
But the night of the 24th, the girls just wouldn’t sleep. Lucy kept running upstairs to get more blankets, and Alice kept taking my cheeks in her hand saying, “You wake? You wake?” Both of them took turns jumping on the bed, which couldn’t have been easy, considering the fact I was lying down on it, demonstrating proper sleep technique.
After 30 or so minutes of this, I found myself ready to boil. Really. I could have steamed sheets with my breath I felt so hot inside.
These little ingrates were ruining my Christmas miracle: the gift of bunk beds, delivered and assembled by Santa upstairs in the dead of night, while they slept downstairs.
Once Adam and I’d built the beds, we’d tuck Lucy and Alice in. There, they would sleep, dawn, when they’d awake not on the airbed, not in their usual spots – but instead, in the bunks Lucy had been asking for since Alice was born, and from that day forward, they’d remember the feeling of life transformed by love while they slept.
That was the miracle I wanted to pull off, the magic I wanted them to know for the rest of their days.
But they wouldn’t go to sleep. Worse, Adam and I were worn out. We still had other presents left to wrap, and we needed a little time with just the two of us. Neither of us was appropriately amused by the site of our daughters, flopping like fish on the air mattress.
So we pulled the plug on the plan. Adam carried the girls to their room, where they both started wailing the skull-splitting cries of kids who thought they were going to get to sleep on the airbed by the Christmas tree, and instead found themselves dumped unceremoniously in their regular beds.
They cried like howler monkeys. And then they cried some more. They cried so much that even Adam, who has a fuse long enough to lasso the moon, was just about ready to explode.
And this is when I remembered the jingle bells that had been tossed on the kitchen floor. Good thing I’m a slobby housekeeper, or I might not have made it to the bells on time. But I did.
Just as Adam was saying, “I’m going to spank them, I swear,” I started ringing like there was no tomorrow.
“HELLO, SANTA!” I called out.
The crying stopped.
“SANTA, DON’T LEAVE!” I said. “THE GIRLS WILL BE ASLEEP ANY MINUTE.”
And then I paused to listen. Lucy was shushing Alice, and within a minute, the crying had stopped. Both girls were asleep. Fast asleep. They didn’t stir until morning.
In a way, I’d gotten my miracle. Not the bunk bed one; we just set the parts in front of the fireplace and decorated them with teddy bears.
Rather, the miracle I got was the reminder that, despite the foolish and elaborate plans I make, my children have faith in something larger than themselves. They have imaginations enough to believe that ringing bells really do herald Santa, that he sees their goodness, and that when they wake up in the morning, it will be to a brighter world.
This faith is the only thing powerful enough to have helped them fall asleep so quickly, and so soundly. They were able in an instant to forget their disappointment over my broken promise of the airbed under the tree.
Their faith inspires me to face 2006, whatever it may bring, with more joy than fear, more hope than disappointment.
And my resolution? No more crazy Christmas Eve plans. They liked the bunk beds fine, and all. But their favorite gift? A box of crayons.