Last night we were driving home from our ritual of gaping at Christmas lights in a nearby neighborhood. I straddled Fruit Bat and Kitty Cat's car seats because our vehicle is too small to hold three adults and two children comfortably. It was unsafe, sure. But we all laughed hysterically and had a better time for it.
As I was contorted there, my six-foot-two-inch frame bending in ways it should not, I explained to Fruit Bat and Kitty Cat that when we got home we would scramble upstairs and into bed before Santa came. I had hoped to encourage hasty pajama donning and teeth brushing. What I hadn't counted on was my phrase "scramble upstairs" becoming Fruit Bat's mantra. He repeated it various times throughout the rest of the evening until he was a frazzled mess, afraid that Santa would come crashing down our nonexistent chimney before the household's children were nestled snug in their beds.
His anxiety evolved into fear not just that Santa would come too soon, but that he was coming at all. And I can't say I blame him. The idea of an elephantine man tiptoeing around the living room in black, steel-toed boots is a bit worrisome, even to me.
Fruit Bat was so worked up I was tempted to confess Santa's true identity. In the end, I kept mum and we agreed to leave milk and cookies just outside the front door for the Big Bad Man, who would telepathically and expertly position the presents under the tree.
Santa came and went without incident (besides the fact that he left 505 toys for the kids and an ipod nano for me) and all was fairly festive throughout the morning. I spent the entire afternoon downloading music to my new, shiny saltine cracker and succumbed to a deep but fleeting depression when I noticed the waste of this:
A few months ago, as J. and I were preparing late in the night for a flight to Michigan the next morning, he sighed and said, "It's so weird that we're the parents now". That we were the ones arranging it all, anticipating the worst that could happen, readying the supplies. Because we were (and still are) totally unqualified, just kids ourselves, right?
On Christmas Eve as we filled stockings and dispersed wrapped gifts, trying not to rustle too loudly or approximate in any way the sound of big boots clomping across wooden floors, that quote flickered through my head over and over.
It is so weird that we're the parents now.