On the first day after Christmas ...

Christmas came. Christmas went. Ho ho ho.

Growing up, December seemed to last forever. The anticipation leading up to Christmas morning can overwhelm a kid looking forward to presents and several days off school. Dec. 25 couldn't arrive fast enough (I scanned several old pictures today and included this one of me on Christmas morning when I was 9 -- same age as Michael. What's with the green outfit?)

As an adult and a parent, the anticipation is replaced by anxiety. December is so busy, even more so this year because we went to Texas. I'll admit, the anxiety is sometimes good anxiety, but it's there nonetheless. The days and weeks of Christmas music, holiday decorations and shopping decisions (compounded, at least for us, by Michael's birthday) zip past. This year, Christmas seemed more sudden than usual (and I noticed how quickly it went last year as well).

However, I'm not sad or bittersweet Christmas came and went so quickly. Except for Ben getting sick Sunday night (but better by Monday afternoon), we thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. The boys loved their presents, and of course, Lori and I loved watching them opening their presents. I helped them build new toys and play new video games. About 5 inches of snow have fallen since Monday morning, so we got the white Christmas just like the ones we used to know. We skipped Mass because Ben was sick but otherwise followed all our usual traditions. I worked Christmas night, but that wasn't so bad, and I prefer that to working Christmas Eve (which I have done before). And know that Christmas is over, I'm looking ahead to the new year.

What I wish for in future Decembers is to appreciate the run-up to Christmas a little more. Sure, we took the boys to see Santa, looked at Christmas lights, and listened to holiday music all month long. Can the anticipation I enjoyed as a child intertwine with the parent's December point of view? It should. I think I do feel that combination to some extent, whether it's coming naturally or I'm forcing it. Maybe being anxious about not enjoying December enough is causing the anxiety in the first place, thus suggesting I shouldn't force it. The funny thing is, I don't think I was forcing it.

So where does this logic lead me? Back to my original thought: Christmas was wonderful and went by too fast. Just like the 11 other months of the year. And to all, a good night.


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