"But you don't have to be an angel
To sing harmony.
You don't have to be a child
To love the mystery.
And you don't have to be a wise man
On bended knee.
The heart of this Christmas is in you and me." --Amy Grant
It's the first thing Bea does when she wakes up and comes downstairs: she bounds immediately over the Advent calendar than Nana made for us a few years ago (my mom), announces the date and thrusts her hand into its pocket to loot its bounty.
Right after that: "Mommy, I want to look at 23."
"That's not until tomorrow, Sweetie. You'll have to wait."
And then Bea brings a chocolate kiss over to Bryce.
"Here you go, Bryce."
Bryce nods and says, "Yum, yum."
And then I ask, "How many days left until Christmas, Beatrice?"
Bea runs back over to the calendar and starts counting.
"One, two, three..."
And then Bryce calls out, "Beatrice! More choc-lat!"
They're both all in on every number. It's brilliant to watch. When you're 2+ and 4+, you don't know how else to be; all in on one number at a time is the preferred Christmas toddler roulette gamble. Spin, baby, spin. A winner every time.
Although, there's always tomorrow, right?
"Mommy, I want to look at 23."
Last weekend we took the girls to see Santa and they were both thrilled to bits. They sat happily on his lap and Beatrice told him what she wanted while Bryce babbled away in kind. They got yummy candy canes and when we left and walked past a store window with a classic holiday train running along a track around a tree, they stood mesmerized in front of the window and our hearts filled with childlike joy watching them.
Back to this weekend. "Beatrice, what did you tell Santa you wanted?"
"A castle," she says proudly, and then, "Daddy, I want to look at 23."
"Tomorrow, my sweet Bea. Tomorrow."
And then she's off to count the remaining days...
I remember writing a silly poem in my late teens about my anticipatory glee of Christmas each year, and how I knew when I was 102, I'd still be thrilled to bits on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
And that's never been more true now that we have children. In fact, I can't even imagine not having children excited for Christmas (and nearly every day), even though at one time weren't going to have any (and no, we don't disparage those who don't).
Maybe that's why I knew I'd be thrilled to bits at Christmas at 102, to continually live life through the "all in" gamblers, and so my heart aches for the families who lost their children tragically this month in Newton, CT, and our prayers for healing go out to the entire community.
May their anticipatory glee keep the universe lit forever.