Can you imagine being 6 or 8 years old this time of year? Luca and Elijah have no idea what to do with themselves. Aside from arranging and rearranging the presents under the tree.
They have their Christmas morning plan set with military precision, starting with a gentleman’s agreement to wake each other up and then tap dance on our heads at first light. I’ve given a vague threat to not enter our room before 8am, but they simply nod their lying heads and say “yes” with their lying mouths. Knowing that on Christmas morning, Santa will be on vacation in the Poconos and not keeping track of who is bad or good.
The boys got a warm up to the actual Jesus birthday by heading down to Grandma Connie’s official “I’m Not Going To Make You Choose Between Grandparents’ Houses On Christmas So I am Doing It Early” extravaganza. Complete with shrieking cousins, seafood pasta and my vain attempts not to drink an entire bottle of wine by myself.
For me, and no one else, the “I’m Not Going To Make You Choose Between Grandparents’ Houses On Christmas So I am Doing It Early” celebration is not complete without a trip to the East Peoria Festival of Lights.
It’s this field 20 minutes from Connie’s where they set up a bunch of, well, Christmas lights and you wait 75 minutes to drive through the 10 minute path of fascinatingly dated installations like the Star Trek “Enterprise” or “Toy Story’s” Buzz Lightyear. The event even offers a low watt radio channel to enhance your viewing experience, but we always choose to play “Baby Got Back” at max volume.
The boys always claim to want to go until they remember the 75 minute wait, at which point they claim stomach aches and want to go back to Grandma Connie’s. But I remind them part of Christmas is doing something you don’t want to do for an hour. I said it was this or church.
In this age of Amazon.com gift lists, the actual surprise of getting gifts is replaced with realization of the strange stuff you asked for. Luca, in a sugar related brown-out, had asked for a briefcase. Not a spy kit or a Transformer’s briefcase. But a man’s business briefcase. When Luca opened it, he was genuinely stunned. But then became very excited by the prospect of carrying around this pleather rectangle.
He got even more excited when I started calling him “Vice President Luca.” He asked, “Dad, what does ‘Vice President’ mean?”
I said, “It means you are super important.”
He said, “Ooh. Are you a Vice President?”
“No. I’m a Senior Vice President. I’m your boss.”
Sunday, after we got back from Connie’s, we saw the new Star Wars movie (more on that later), and Luca and Diana ended the night singing made up Christmas carols. The following is transcribed from Luca’s last/best song:
“Christmas is the piece like a ornament, but, and there is a magical part of it too.
The Christmas tree, you hang Christmas up on the tree, but inside of the ornament is Christmas, and Christmas spreads out of the ornament, all over town.
But then, sometimes Christmas is a little bad for some kids. Because kids sometimes only care about presents. And then if they be bad they will get a sack or stuff of coal.”