The story of my Christmas miracle started days before Christmas when the excitement of Santas visit was just too much for poor Colin to take, and he was…for lack of a better term, acting like a brat, and I hate that word. He tested every nerve I had. He couldn’t walk past anyone without checking them into the wall. He wouldn’t say a full sentence without using the word ‘poop’ somewhere in there, and he’d say things like, “You’re so mean” and “Daddy’s my favourite.” I took away every privilege except food and sleep. I’d take his DS and say “Gone for a week”, and he’d say, “so”. I’d say gone for 2 weeks and he’d say, “I don’t care”. I was begging for Nanny 911 to pay me a surprise visit even if it meant publicly humiliating me on national television. Drastic times call for drastic measures.
I wondered what had happened to my family? These kids that I’d take to neptune and then to Jane’s On The Commons for Eggs Benedict? These kids who once would rather tickle the ivories than pick up a joystick? These kids who’d pack their favorite book and we’d all spend an hour at the Biscuit Eater and they’d have hot chocolate while I’d have a latte? Are they now the video game playin, gun chewing, back talking, f-bomb dropping kids that I said they’d never become? Don’t get me wrong, I have great kids. I do. But as a group, we’ve turned out differently that what I had imagined. Not better, not worse, just different. And I was a bit sad at the loss of this image of the family that I had in my head.
Coincidentally, a few days before Christmas I went to a holiday party and chatted with my friend, the musically talented Leslee Barry, and she mentioned that they were planning the Mother/Daughters Christmas Choir in a few days and that I should go, that the kids and I would love it,especially since we all love music. I thought, that would be great, and now that it’s Christmas, I could easily disguise the sound of the shackles around their ankles as the sound of Christmas bells. I said, “Hey guys, tonight you’re taking your mommy to a Christmas concert.” Evan said, “whose class?” I said, “No one’s class, it’s my friends concert, and it’s in the middle church”, which happens to be the Lutheran Church, but I knew that meant nothing to them. Evan said something like, “Is there anyway for me to get out of this?” and I said “Nope. Consider it payback for all the cold hockey rinks I have to sit in.” He rolled his eyes and off we went.
We arrived at a packed church and I worried about my decision immediately because the kids wanted to sit in the kids section, and because I saw only 3 other kids I was pretty certain there was no such section. Colin insisted on sitting the pew ahead of me and after I decided this was a battle that I wouldn’t fight, he started to move the bibles from holder to holder. And right about when he began to put the seat cushion on his head I started to break out in a sweat. He grabbed the pencil and the donation forms from the holder and started to doodle and I thought about grabbing the pencil and gabbing it in my jugular, but then I let it go, what can it hurt really, it’s pencils and paper.
While Colin was doodling, I actually got to hear the music, which was incredible! Just…wow. Who knew that such a wonderful sound existed? Evan would whisper, “Are they going to sing jingle bells?” and ” what about Rudolph, do you think we’ll hear that?” Needless to say, we likely wouldn’t be hearing anything like that. Something from Andrea Bocelli perhaps, but we wouldn’t be hearing Dolly and Kenny’s “I’ll be home with bells on.” This wasn’t that kind of Christmas concert.
Maybe it was the Christmas spirit that got me, the sounds of the beautiful music, being in that beautiful church, I can never be in a church without crying, maybe it was the fact that despite all my futile efforts to raise distinguished, cultured, refined sons, they’ve become hockey lovin, video game playin, rough and tumble boys like so many other wonderful boys we know. And with my eyes filling up with tears, I decided that was ok. I couldn’t love them any more than I do right now. That I’m as proud as any mom could be.
I decided that they really did do very well at this concert, and that we’d leave at the intermission and go to Tim Hortons for hot chocolate as a reward for them behaving so well.
Then Colin, as only Colin could, started to hand me the notes that he’d written on the back of the offering papers. One read, merry poopy Christmas. The other read I love my family. The last of the three read, I love my mommy more than the moon and the stars.
The tears that filled my eyes fell like rockets down my cheeks, and right or wrong…he got his DS back.