Despite my many warnings to the boys about the borderline quality of their behavior leading up to Christmas, Santa came anyway. Nobody can be counted on to give 102nd chances like Santa.
We had a typical Christmas for us. It began with a mega-dose of childish excitement and glee. Then it slowly spiraled into the danger zone known as Too Much Christmas, when three boys, overstimulated and full of adrenalin, can’t process all the new things to play with and turn into Tasmanian Devils.
A small cooling off period sets things right again, or as near as they can be on this day of frenzy. Then it’s the battle to make them sit down long enough to eat some dinner. Fortunately, Big Brother has inherited his father’s unconditional love of the ham. He’d eat it in a box with a fox, or even during the excitement of Christmas Day. It’s only the little ones who can’t see the majesty of the glazed shank beyond the shine of new toys.
About mid-afternoon begins the parental strategizing about how to wear them down so they’ll go to bed at a decent hour, in spite of all the fun stuff calling them to wakefulness from the living room.
The day ends with a drink of Daddy’s new scotch, conveniently delivered by the UPS man on Christmas Eve. If there is a Santa, I’m now convinced his suit is brown rather than red.
And what a scotch it was. This new one is potent. It tried to put hair on my chest. It didn’t realize that my chest is a difficult place put hair. The most difficult place is my head, which retired from hair farming some years ago. At my age, that scotch would have been far more successful seeking fertile ground on my back, but liquor attempts only what it’s trained to do.
In the days following Christmas, things have settled down some. Some. We still have fights between Buster and Big Brother over the best use of certain toys. Big Man keeps everybody on their toes with his penchant for disassembling LEGO creations whenever one is left unattended and within his reach. This causes much gnashing of teeth, yet never causes anyone to learn to keep their LEGOs up high.
Pieces are broken or lost. This is the natural order of things. Instinctively, they are making room for the next Christmas.
On the third night after Christmas, Buster considered his built, then unbuilt, then half-built again LEGO toy. “Daddy, “ he said.
“I want more Christmas.”
There’s a little Buster in me that always wants more Christmas too. But when the Daddy in me reflected upon the dizzying roller coaster that is Christmas with three boys, even my inner child shook his head. There’s not enough scotch in the world for that.
“Maybe we’ll have another one next year. I’ll ask Santa how he feels about it.”