Mommy Chronicles

A funny look at motherhood and the mayhem it causes.

January 01, 2006

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.


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.


Blogger David Vincenti said...

And they preferred the box to the crayons, right?

This is a terrific story. Your daughters will think so, too, in 15 years.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Izzy said...

LOVED this story, Martha. I'll have to tell you about how I told Isabella and Eliana that I checked Santa's website and he had a list of kids that he was giving one more chance to "be nice instead of naughty" before Christmas. Talk about a change of behavior for the month of December!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Bob Werner said...

Glad to see your article on longevity and intelligence. One of the most overlooked inputs into long life is good oral health. Those with good oral health live on average 6 years longer. That is more that good nutrition, exercising and not smoking combinded. Please do an article on this so that the masses can be properly informed.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Igor Butorsky said...


I just read your article on the possible connections between intelligence and health, and I believe there is one good theory that scientists have not considered, yet it could have some validity.

You see, many people always give the "brain" in our body as the seat of our intelligence, but they don't consider the millions of miles of neurons and connnective messenger cells and chemical signals that travel to and from our brain with every thought and desire.

My point is, I believe that the reason smarter people live longer is because their entire body is therefore smarter.....they have a smarter working immune system, a smarter working heart, and smarter, more efficient management of internal resources such as hormones, minerals and vitamin use. If our brain is used to direct our solid, concrete thoughts, would it not make sense to imagine that a smarter brain would also better direct the more abstract commands, such as the function of our killer-T cells when fighting a virus, or more wiser at signalling our pancrease on just how much insuline to release, so that we don't become diabetic, for example?

Anyway, I guess this maybe would elevate the old Greek philosophy "sound mind, sound body" to a more literal resonance.
A smarter working mind equals a smarter working body. Perhaps it is incorrect for us to pin our measure of intelligence sorely on our brain. It is, after all, an organ, like any other in the human body. True intelligence very well may be impossible to place into a jar. It may be floating around within every cell and particle of our entire being.

Igor Butorsky
Brandon, MS

7:11 AM  
Blogger Toni said...

Martha...I love your stories, this one is particularly touching and I'm sure anyone with children can relate.

Where are you?

I have not seen any new blogs in a long time...


10:24 AM  
Blogger apache in KY said...

Hi Maam,
I just finished reading your article on IQ verses Emotional IQ, and saw that in your summation you reached the conclusion that in the end, according to these researchers, raw IQ was still more important than emotional IQ and they didn't seem to find any direct coralation between emotional IQ and their groups performance in school.
This should be proof positive for those idiots! If you could pass this along to them some way, they might be able to figure out that "they are not as smart as they think either".
I am a divorced father of three teenage sons. All three of my sons were honor students while the custody battle was still in court during the divorce, and while they and myself all still had hopes that the court system would see clearly that "I" was the better parent and the one that they should be with and not their mother. But after the court failed to help me get them out of their mothers house, where they have always been emotionally and mentally abused by her, all three of their grades started suffering due to their loss of faith in the system and any hope of getting out of that hell which they are still in!
I know they are all intelligent boys, and should still be honor students, but since their faith was shattered and now it would seem, their hope lost of any remaining happy childhood because of this, all three of them have lost all interest in doing well in school and their grades are a direct indicator of this.
When those three boys are with me, their grades are better and they are all much happier. Even people aroung us can see a major difference in them and their personalities as well as their grades and performance in school and socially, but when they feel as though they are left with her, the parent who mistreats them, their grades all suffer, because their self esteem and moral are very much lower than it should be.
So, if you can reach them, please tell all these geniusess conducting these tests and evaluations, just how stupid they are!!!
I myself, have and IQ of 160 on one test, and 136 on yet another test, and have always been an observer of people and their behavior. The author of the book about emotional IQ, is also just as equally stupid. If any of these people knew half as much as they thought they knew, they would "ALL" see, that emotional IQ, "AND" raw IQ, combined, are what determines how any person performs in the things they attempt, as well as their success in life!
Thanks very much for listening, and if you have any response, you can send it to:
My name, is Mr. Kelly R. Sexton. You have a great day, and please try to forward this information to these idiots conducting those test to let them all know just how stupid they really are themselves.

7:43 AM  

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