Friday, December 19, 2008

Three Kids Christmas Blowout: Great Big Happy Family

This was all my cousins' fault. My older cousins, I might add.

Because of them, I was sneaking down the stairs in the middle of the night, barefoot, on Christmas Eve. I crept past my parents' bedroom. Past the room where my aunt and uncle were sleeping. And slowly, slowly, I descended, hoping the stairs didn't creak. Hoping my parents wouldn't wake up. Hoping to find magic.

This was bad. I was a very good girl. But this? This was very, very naughty.

And it thrilled me. In a terrible and beautiful way.

I was six years old, and my cousins had come for Christmas. We all camped out on my bedroom floor in our sleeping bags, even the little kids. After our parents tucked us in, we were too excited to sleep. We talked. We planned. We were going to catch Santa Claus.

Steve must have been the ringleader. He was, after all, the oldest and wisest. So when he declared he saw the red glow of Rudolph's nose outside the window, I just knew he was right. When he and his sister, Laurie, announced that somebody was going to have to go downstairs to bust the jolly old guy, I was right there with them. And when they told me I was the one to go, well... I would have followed them to the ends of the earth. I didn't like it. But I did it.

Downstairs I crept. I made it as far as the living room. That was all I needed to see. The room was overflowing with presents, glowing blue in the moonlight. The floor was covered, and the evidence was overwhelming: he had arrived. He had come and gone in the blink of an eye, had disappeared before I had seen him, and had set the scene for a joyous Christmas morning.

I was relieved. My mission was complete, I hadn't been caught, and I had pleased my cousins. Best of all: I had found magic.

I don't remember what I got for Christmas that year. It doesn't matter. What I remember, 32 years later, is the unbridled delight of that night. My belief was enchanted, my anticipation electrifying. My cousins had helped create one of the happiest memories of my life.

Until recently, my kids didn't have any cousins. Then they had two. As of this week, they have three (welcome, Jaden!). And any minute now, there will be yet another (hurry, Baby, hurry!). This is a mere handful compared to the bushel of cousins I have, but no matter.

They will be family; they will be cousins. Our brothers and sister and their children will come to visit at Christmas or during the summer or on birthdays. And our children will run off together to play and and to pretend and to scheme and to forge years of memories of their own.

My kids don't know it yet. But these cousins are the best Christmas gifts they'll ever receive.


  1. Oh my gosh, Teresa! I am so beyond touched by what you wrote and I remember that Christmas as an absolute favorite as well!!! To be a part of a memory so special to you means so much!

  2. What a great memory...thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!


Like it? Hate it? Any other reaction? Leave me a comment!