I can’t imagine a Christmas without kids. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are made special by those with wet diapers, no hair or teeth. And that’s just the old fogies amongst us. The babies are even more entertaining.
At last year’s Thanksgiving feast we had all sat down around three groaning tables and had our plates full when Everett’s proud parents asked the newly turned 3-year-old to say Grace. Everett was lifted up to a prominent position high above us, all chatter came to a standstill and during the most solemn moment on this day of Thanksgiving, a nervous and serious Everett opened his mouth and proceeded to sing the Happy Birthday song! (Everett was just a little confused as to what holiday we were celebrating.) We all laughed and then joined Everett in singing happy birthday to the big Tom turkey.
It would have been more fitting if Everett had waited until Christmas to deliver his very special Grace because Christmas is actually a birthday celebration. Those of us who were there will always remember Everett’s birthday song, just as all of us need a reminder now and then that Christmas is not just an excuse to give and get gifts, to garishly decorate the house or to stuff ourselves with dressing and dessert.
As Everett reminded us, Christmas is just not Christmas without babies. It just wouldn’t be Christmas if I went home at the end of the day with dry shoulders because there were no babies to spit up on them.
It’s a very complicated formula but the proper ratio is three adults for every two babies in attendance. This ensures that there will be enough holding time for everyone. This usually holds true unless there’s a much dreaded “baby hog” present like the one who usually shows up at all our holidays. That would be me.
I just can’t seem to get enough of their scrunched up faces, the funny noises emanating from both ends, and their tiny hands grabbing on to one of my fingers. The pure joy is only disrupted when you hear a lot of squalling and begging for mommy which, again, would be me. When they start crying I can’t get rid of babies fast enough. And may I issue a special thanks to the person who invented the pacifier, or as we call it, “the plug.”
As mothers know, babies are a lot of hard work but Christmas is that one day each year that worn-out moms can take a break and let someone else hold their babies for them while they slave over a hot stove all day. Still, I’m not sure all the moms appreciate me when I get on my crickety knees to give babies their first bronc ride, or twirl them round and round until we both get sick.
Ah, what wonderful nonsense!
Parents don’t appreciate the gifts I give at Christmas either. Last year I gave Everett his own mallet and leather tools so that he could begin to learn the trade but I’m afraid they became weapons of mass destruction in his hands. This year I wanted to give him his very own Moore Maker knife from Matatdor, Texas, the sharpest in all the land, but my wife thought that was totally inappropriate for a 3-year-old. Maybe next year.
After we’d eaten our Thanksgiving feast we were just sitting around visiting when Everett walked up to grandaddy Poppy and with a very serious tone said, “Poppy, it’s taking quite a while for the ice cream.” Everett was used to birthday celebrations when Poppy would make his fabulous homemade ice cream. Suddenly the adults realized that we had no ice cream! So the mothers all got busy making whipped cream, hoping it would suffice. Not grasping the concept, Everett spread the whipped cream all over his face like he’d seen his dad do with shaving cream.
Ah, babies, they keep us young, grounded and tired. At the end of the day when we hand them back to their parents we realize that we’d best enjoy these special holiday memories because far too fast the babes will grow up to become teenagers.
Here’s hoping you have a baby-filled Christmas.❖
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