Tonight, like so many parents out there, Joey and I got to some wrapping.
For me, this entails sloppy bunched tissue paper tied with yarn. For Joey, the process looks more like hand painted cards and french graphic novel characters with speech bubbles that contain the names of our children. We're a good team, he and I.
We've had some struggles in our family around the whole Santa thing. When Sadie was smaller, she would ask about Santa, and we would tell the truth, that he was made up (sorry to by busting it up for any of you out there). But when she hit four or five, she informed us that we were wrong and that he was very real. As those of you who have met Sadie know, she is not a girl you want to argue with on matters like this.
Over the last few years, we have tried to find our own rituals in Christmas. We talk about Christmas as a time of giving, and about the light returning with the solstice, and all of those other nice things. And when it comes to Santa, we've come to some sort of explanation, that Santa is the spirit of giving. And different people do Santa's work, and that we can all be part of Santa.
"Whatever Mom," is basically the reaction to that one.
But the girls seem to get it. They talk about Santa as a real person and wonder what he'll bring. Even with these conversations, they know that it is Joey and I who play the role of Santa, and they tell us so.
We've come to some sort of peace on the matter.
At least, the girls have.
Back to the wrapping. Tonight. About 10:30. We're playing music too loud. It's okay- the kids never come out of their room.
But all of a sudden, there are footsteps.
And there is Sadie.
And Joey and I are working at a table that looks like a wrapping paper bomb went off.
And without looking at each other, Joey and I have the same reaction.
We run towards her, screaming at the top of our lungs.
Yeah, I know. Sometimes we're not so bright. But you have to understand- at first we were screaming because we didn't know what else to do. We just needed to get her out of the room. But as we realized the truth, that our daughter had caught us wrapping on Christmas eve, we just kept yelling at the horribleness of it all.
I tried to recover myself. I took her to pee. I tucked her back in to the top bunk.
"Why did I scare you? Why did you scream?" she asks me, already falling back asleep.
"We're doing Santa work," I tell her. "It's secret."
And she's okay, although Joey is still visibly shaking from the experience. But I know that in twenty years, Sadie's going to be telling her therapist about the Christmas Eve that her parents scared the hell out of her.
I wish you all a very lovely and childhood trauma free holiday.