Christmas Eve: the worst night…

When I was a kid, Christmas eve was the best night of the year! Hands down, NO CONTEST! Nothing ever came close to it. I would be having dinner with all my cousins. No adult to bug us and tell us to sit upright, eat with our fork, have a sensible conversation. Our parents were so busy rebuilding the world and talking politics in the next room that anything went at the kids table. As long as no one bled uncontrollably, the sky was the limit.

After a cool and relaxed meal, we would be allowed to do WHATEVER we felt like: watch TV, argue, make a mess. Whatever took our fancy! Eventually, we would have to go to bed. But again, our parents were so noisy talking downstairs that they could not care less what we were up to. And what we were up to was usually: bouncing off the walls, and scaring the youngest cousins with spooky stories. After awhile we would fall asleep, but that was ok, because we knew our parents were going to wake us up after Santa came. Which was always around midnight. Then, it was another three hours of opening presents, playing, arguing. Oh What a night!!!!

When I grew up,  I moved to the adult table, where we would sit, eat, play cards and talk until the early hours of the morning. You might not see the fun in this, but I am French, and in France, that’s what people do.

So for over thirty years, Christmas eve was THE night to look forward to.

Obviously, once I had children, things changed considerably, you might say. And somehow, Christmas eve became the most stressful time of the year!! As a matter of fact, let me explain what I did this Christmas eve, just to give you an idea…

First, we took our kids to church. Sounds simple enough. Except they did not want to go so we had to argue, scream and wave punishments for a good half an hour. When we came back, we agreed that we could have a family Christmas movie, eating in front of the television (ultimate treat in our household!). We had a half an hour argument about what to watch: the boys wanted “Fast and Furious”, a famous Christmas movie classic! Our daughter wanted 101 Dalmatians – closer to a Christmas movie as there is some snow at least – although she has been watching it every day for the past three months so we are all totally sick of it. My husband and I just wanted some peace. Something that the kids will watch without arguing, playing their guitar, or asking a bazillion questions. Finally, after many debates, it seemed like the kids had settled on something – and by that I mean, the boys told their sister to shut up and decided she did not have a vote – Fine by me, whatever!!!

After the movie was over, we argued about the fact that it was time to go to bed. Apparently, my kids are under the impression that on Christmas eve, they are allowed to stay up late and do whatever they like. No way!! Not on my watch!!! Then, we argued about getting a shower (you are not supposed to wash on Christmas eve either…). After MANY arguments, we finally got everybody in bed. We then had to spend half an hour cleaning the lounge where these monkeys had eaten. Because, although the dog had done a thorough job at licking the plates and “vacuuming” the crumbs, he could not reach under the coffee table where a significant stash of food was piled…

Anyway, we cleaned up, prepared everything for the next day (charged the camera, tidied up the house in case Santa decided to take a tour, left him some cookies and milk) and went to bed around midnight.

At 1am, one of my sons woke me up to inform me that his throat hurt, but he did not want any medicine, he was just letting me know. Well, thanks for the information!

He then came back at 2am to tell me that his sore throat was better. Boy was I glad!! “Did you tell daddy?” I asked in a vicious, nasty, jealous moment. But my son did not want to wake my husband. “It would not be fair,” he said. What the @$#?????

He came back at 3am, asking to sleep with us. “Whatever” I growled. And he climbed into our bed.

At 4am, my daughter woke me up because her nose was blocked. “Mommy is going to get a tissue” I managed to get out of my bed and go to the bathroom. I think I walked on the cat as I heard an inhuman shriek but I was too busy trying not to bump into any wall out of sheer exhaustion… When I came back, my little girl was in my bed, with my son, fast asleep. OK!! This kept getting better and better. I  squeezed in the middle and fell asleep.

Only to be woken up by my son (again!) at 5am. He was in a complete panic,  “Mom, dad is hyperventilating! Do something! DO SOMETHING!!!”

“No he is not, he is just snoring…”

My reassured boy went back to sleep. At 6am, he woke me up to inform me that “When I will be in college, my sister is going to be a lonely child, isn’t it weird?”

“Yes! I said through greeted teeth, but maybe then I’ll manage to sleep!” He fell asleep again.

At 7am, my other son jumped on the bed, “It’s Christmas!! Let’s go downstairs. C’mon, C’mon, C’mon!!!” And would not stop until I got up.

And that is a pretty typical Christmas eve night, over the past ten years.

I know you are thinking that I am making this up. I am not. And I know one thing for sure: in a few years, I will miss these kind of nights so badly…



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