It’s 10:30pm Christmas Eve night. We are all back from a Christmas Eve open house at one of our dear friend’s house which was cut short for me and DS2 because of his allergic reaction to their family German Shepherd. The presents have long been wrapped and the kids are finally going to bed. DS1 prefers to sleep in our room tonight and we oblige. DS2 also prefers to sleep in our room but until he can go poopy on the potty he is sleeping in the guest bedroom (and has been for the last week). I can hardly believe that I am able to go to bed before midnight on Christmas Eve! Every last detail is attended to and I’m about to get 8, maybe 9 hours of sleep before Christmas Day arrives! Yippee! I mosey on to our guest bedroom where DH is tucking DS2 into bed. I whisper very explicit instructions to him before I retire: There are wrapped presents in a garbage bag in our pool storage room. Put them under the tree, along with the stuffed stockings, before you go to bed tonight. No problem, he whispers back. I proceed to my comfy fluffy bed…elated that I do not have to lift another finger until tomorrow.
7:30am Christmas morning. The only one sharing my bed is DS1 and he’s still sound asleep. I don’t find anything strange about this as DH is often out of our bed and off to work long before I wake up. I take the opportunity to do my morning devotionals then read from a book that’s been on my nightstand for the last month entitled “Celebrate Jesus at Christmas: Family Devotions for Advent Through Epiphany” by Kimberly Ingalls Reese. It’s the first time since I’ve had it that I actually had the time to look through it and I quickly regret that I didn’t do it sooner. I flip to Christmas Day and begin reading all the wonderful suggestions for celebrating this day (songs, bible verses, food for thought, etc.) and vow to use it for next year. Then at that moment, inexplicably, I experienced my own epiphany: This is not a work day. DH should be in our bed. I bet he fell asleep with DS2. Go and check to make sure the presents are under the tree! I jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs and took notice that there was not a single present or stocking underneath the tree!!! I quickly scour the downstairs for DH and there is no sign of him but I know he’s still in the house because the house alarm is still activated. I dash up the stairs and into the guest room and there he is…snoring away next to DS2. In a split second I have visions of waking him from his deep sleep with a quick and effective punch to the face…but I remember it’s Christmas and violently shake him up instead. His first glimpse upon opening his oh-so-sleepy eyes is a fire-breathing, fist-clenched wife with daggers shooting from her eyes…hovering an inch over his nose…speaking through clenched teeth in a slow, deliberate and loud whisper so as not to wake up DS2: “YOU…FORGOT…TO PUT…THE PRESENTS UNDER THE TREE!!!!!” DH quickly realizes this is not a dream he’s having but a nightmare of the worst kind. He dashes out of bed and down the stairs to complete the one task he had been assigned this entire Christmas season. I begin taking big, sweeping deep breaths on my way back to my bedroom and am thankful the boys are still sleeping. With the disaster now averted I climb into a hot, soothing shower in attempt to lower my blood pressure and ease my throbbing head…and begin singing Joy to the World…my attempt to keep the focus on Christ and not on my anger.
Upon drying off I notice that DH is back in our bed snuggling up with DS1 who is still sleeping. How precious, I think to myself. I whisper hopefully to him “Did you get all the presents under the tree?” He nods confidently and with a smile which should have been sufficient to the average person but my woman’s intuition (or was it just being married to him for the last 8 years?) was instructing me to confirm the affirmative. So down I go in my bath robe and wet head and sure enough I see that the stockings are, indeed, under the tree but there is only a SINGLE wrapped present! ONE! In complete exasperation I march to the pool room, grab the lawn & leaf trash bag FULL of wrapped presents and drag it to the tree then proceed back upstairs to breathe more fire onto my dear, clueless, seemingly innocent husband. We proceed to have a heated exchange and begin playing the blame game: he blaming me for giving him confusing instructions (there were TWO garbage bags full of presents: one with wrapped gifts, the other with unwrapped gifts. In my Christmas delirium I mistakenly put a single wrapped present into the bag of unwrapped gifts and THAT was the bag he came across first and so he put the SINGLE wrapped present under the tree. How he thought one present labeled for DS2 would cover all the children is beyond me); and me blaming him for having done nothing to prepare for this day AND failing to execute on the one critical task that was assigned to him (well, okay, he did toil endlessly for financial provision so that I could go out and buy the presents…but my heart was no where near being soft enough to remember that fact much less give him credit for it). I interrupt his poor attempts at defending himself and ask him (or did I order him?) to go downstairs and put the presents under the tree before the kids wake up! It’s now 8:15am and I have lost that loving feeling.
While I’m blow drying my hair, DH informs me that while he was downstairs attending to his task, he noticed that the freezer door on our kitchen refrigerator was wide open and everything in it had either defrosted or melted. The entire kitchen floor was wet…and he wanted to know what he should do. Oh, just go handle it already. I didn’t care if he threw everything into the trash at that point.
The children, God bless their souls, don’t wake up until after 9am. While still in our bedroom, the children and I sing Joy to the World followed by Happy Birthday to Jesus. I get them caught up on the Advent Christmas book we had been reading (but fell behind on) before heading downstairs. The focus is back on Christ, the kitchen is all cleaned up, presents are now under the tree, and all is well at the Taschek Funny Farm.
Later that evening we attended a Christmas Day dinner at another dear friend’s house (to protect his privacy I’ll refer to him as Dear Friend, or DF for short). At the dinner table I recounted the story to DF because he’s also our company’s finance manager and knows all too well the forgetful nature of DH. He busted up with laughter not believing that DH could possibly have forgotten to put the presents under the tree…but then again, knowing him, could believe that “Chucklehead”, his pet name for DH, could have. As he was shaking his head and still laughing, DF asked Chucklehead how in the world would he have responded to the kids had they gotten up at 6am like every other normal child and found that there were no presents under the tree! Chucklehead just calmly shrugged his shoulders and responded that he would have told the kids that Santa had Old-Timers and must have mistakenly placed the presents in the wrong room of the house. No worries! And you know what? My mini-Chuckleheads would have believed every word that came out of Papa Chucklehead’s mouth and there would not have been any worries. Why is it that when I think my DH is being the all-time biggest dope, that it’s really me being the biggest dope of all?
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
– Psalm 37:8