The boys are in bed (although I hear Noe bouncing a ball off the wall....he is still a couple hours away from sleep I'm afraid). Asher asked to go to bed as soon as it started to get dark, around 5:30PM. He didn't want to take a chance that he might be awake when Santa arrived at our house. I logged onto the Santa tracker to reassure him that Santa was still busy delivering presents to the children of Hamburg, Germany, and there was no chance he would make an appearance before 9PM. I will take no chance that Asher will be at my bedroom door at 3:30AM begging to open presents!
At 8PM, Asher assembled a plate of cookies and cup of milk for Santa (Actually, it took a couple of tries because Noe kept eating the cookies he put out) and headed for bed. As I came upstairs from tucking them into their sturdy little bunk bed, I could hear Asher singing Christmas carols to himself, totally enraptured in the holiday and joy it brings.
I love this time with the boys. Their imaginations, sweet innocence, and charming earnestness bring enough holiday magic into our little home to completely neutralize the cynicism and crankiness left behind from the adults in the house.
Earlier today we went down to the National Mall to catch the holiday train exhibit at the US Botanical Garden, admire the Christmas tree at the National Capitol, and take in a couple of museums. This holiday season we also made a gingerbread house, looked at Christmas lights, listened to a holiday concert at the local town center, and attended a special Christmas musical program at church.
There has just been one thing (or rather person) missing amongst all of this merriment. My partner-in-crime, Easy Ed. Have I mentioned his work schedule sucks? Between travel and work, he has been Holiday MIA. Christmas, both its glory and its never-ending WORK, has been 99% me. Last weekend, we were able to sneak him out to dinner at our favorite Argentine restaurant and then to the Festival of Lights. We had a great time together, we felt complete.
Tonight, I will fill the stockings and put out the Santa gifts. Sometime in the early morning hours Easy Ed will stumble into bed. Then I will get him up so he can watch the boys open their presents with bleary eyes. And then he will sleep until he has to go back to work.
It is a strange mix of emotions. On one hand I am truly grateful for all that I have and I know Ed feels the same. The boys are healthy and flourishing within their given potentials, we have great family and friends who love and support us, and providing Christmas for our family has never stretched us financially. On the other hand, I am completely and utterly exhausted from our current life situation and crave change.
Ed has had this work schedule for many years and it is the nature of his industry. At the beginning of our marriage, it wasn't such a big deal. When the boys were babies, it meant he got to see a lot of them during their waking hours, which was great (not so great for me dealing with night time by myself, but I survived). Now the boys are in school. Ed can go days without seeing the boys because he has to leave for work before they are out of school. Throw in a bit of travel and days can turn into a week. It isn't the way either of us wanted to raise our kids.