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  • Writer's picturePenny Sterling

A Bit of Christmas Morning

My ex-wife and her best friend have been best friends since they were 3. That's an impressive streak. And they have always spent time with each other on Christmas Eve. When we were married, that time would stretch to past midnight, which made it conflict with another tradition we had: Not wrapping the majority of the kids presents until the kids went to bed on Christmas eve. There were way too many times when we would be closing our bedroom door on our Christmas eve just as the kids were opening theirs on their Christmas morning.

When you have four kids, "Christmas Mass" refers more to the volume under the tree than it does to any religious ceremony. We soon instilled a "No opening presents until 9am" rule, but we did give them permission to raid their stockings, so we would have to make sure we got one very cool activity-based present in each of their stockings so that we could at least take the edge off of our exhaustion. This year, I've had the majority of their gifts wrapped since mid-December, and under the tree for the past week. It's prettier that way, anyhow.

But the stockings are still empty.

I go to sleep hours before they do, and I get up hours before they do in the morning. So now I can fill the stockings after showering and shaving. And also putting on my outfit and makeup and having coffee and taking time to write a little memory piece and even go out and shovel the street if I wanted to. I'm saying it's a struggle to get them up at the crack of noon when they're on vacation. So why struggle? Brad had to work around Christmas so he can't come up from Virginia. Andrew has to go get his son from his mother's house and so he won't get here until around noon anyhow. And my ex and her boyfriend will be over, too. My Christmas morning is a solitary endeavor, but it's not lonely, and I love it. So I take my time and enjoy the images my friends share on social media of their Christmas mornings, and smile at the excitement, missing it quite a bit but grateful for the long winter's nap nonetheless.

So our Christmas morning will likely start in the afternoon.

I'm okay with that. I'm grateful for everything my life has given me. Including my friends near and far. So I'll take a bit of my Christmas morning to wish you all peace, joy, happiness, and gratitude for what you have, even if it doesn't feel like it's enough, and a prayer that all your needs and enough of your wants are met in the coming year, and beyond. Merry Christmas!

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