Christmas When You’re 49

When you’re 49, you are Santa and everyone in the house knows it. It doesn’t bode well when your bedtime is far earlier than your kids’ and they’re still up late playing Facebook games like Farmville and going through the motions of putting out milk and cookies next to the fireplace.

Thank baby Jesus, the Mr. Claus in this Southwest pole regularly burns the midnight oil. Last night he fulfilled the stocking-stuffing and placing the surprise gifts of the season under our tree long after I was sawing wood for the night. I did manage, however, to wake up at my normal three o’clock feeding time to get his one and only surprise into his stocking. He had purchased all the rest of his own presents himself. (This is a man who knows what he wants and wastes no time fulfilling the wants.) At least I wrapped them. Good wife?

One thing that hasn’t changed on Christmas morning in all our years of being parents is that it’s the one day of the year when our kids get up before us. As a rule, they come to our room and beckon us to the Christmas tree in order for the gift opening to begin. The wake-up calls have gone from as early as six a.m. to nine a.m.; however, both our darling girls still patiently await the espresso machine churning out at least two good-sized lattes for their groggy parents, Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

On that note, today, Christmas 2009, it was a pleasant surprise when we opened their first gifts, which were his-and-her espresso mugs. They had purchased them in Las Vegas during our Thanksgiving trip. I loved the mugs, and immediately abandoned my original, having my second decaf latte in a white mug with “Las Vegas” printed all around it. Yes, that’s another thing that’s changed. Before I was in my late 40’s, my coffee had caffeine.

In the meantime, Santa managed to fulfill every item on both of their rather modest Christmas lists . . . save one item. They’d been begging for a Wii for weeks—perhaps months.

Now this is where the age of 49 comes back into play. I’m afraid I am not a child of the videogame age. On the contrary, I’ve always found video games to be a complete waste of time and energy. I believe children should instead spend time playing a real game or reading a book. I suppose it’s my personal generation gap. My parents liked Glenn Miller, I liked The Stones! Video games? I always thought they were for morons.

And yet Mr. Claus managed to convince me that the price of the Wii had become affordable, and my workout buddy, the Beave, told me she and her kids regularly broke a sweat while playing with one. Honestly, my girls wanted it so badly, that I heard the word “we,” or perhaps the adjective “wee,” or even the French word for yes, “oui,” about twenty times a day in their daily vocabularies.

So, here’s what this 49-year-old Mrs. Claus did AFTER her Mr. Claus purchased the Wii for their kids. She wrapped it and all its accessories—games, extra remotes, what-have-you—in special green paper. Then she directed Mr. Claus to NOT put them under the tree in case she fell asleep before him. (Yup!)

Then, on Christmas morning, the girls got through all their gifts and appeared grateful for their bounty.

At this point Mr. Claus left the room to get himself yet another latte. Mrs. Claus stayed put, totally happy about the new telephoto lens she received as a surprise gift. (Complete and happy surprise!) In the meantime, she couldn’t help but keep one pointed-ear tuned-in to the exchange between her little elves: One was happy, one was clearly disappointed. It was obvious that both had tried to cover up their disappointment at NOT receiving the most coveted gift, the Wii.

Sensing a breakdown, she gestured to Mr. Claus. “Go get it,” she said, in no uncertain terms.

The bottom line is that the Wii brought our youngest to tears. And the elder was equally as happy although she claimed she knew what we were up to. Meanwhile, they haven’t stopped playing with this TV-oriented interactive game all day. They even got me in on the fun and I’m happy to report winning scores in both table tennis and basketball. I need to work on my wakeboarding and baseball; however if life matches videogames, I will dominate this family. I’m sure of it.

If I know one thing at the age of 49, it’s that I RULE!

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