Santa visits our house on Christmas Eve morning. By special arrangement he takes a detour from his Australian route and zips over to central Canada to fill the stocking of three, though not extraordinarily well behaved, very well meaning children. He does this so we can have a little Christmas celebration with just the five of us before we pack up and head to The Grandparents Place for a week of Holiday Cheer.
The Wee Ones woke us just before 8am, did their annual Christmas play and then we opened gifts. By 10am we were in the van and heading toward the in-laws. This incredible feat of packing and organization left a few casualties in its wake, though.
I had stayed up late for a week doing laundry, making gifts, wrapping and trying to clean up everything along the way. My plan was to leave the house clean so that when we returned home all we had to do was unload the van and relax. My plan was in pieces by 9am on Christmas Eve.
The kids tore through their gifts and instead of opening a few small things to take with them they went for the big ones. As I was running around zipping up suitcases and packing up snowsuits, Mr. Awesome was loading the van and searching for the tortoise (she was let out of her tank and no one kept an eye on her as she wandered around the basement). This left the kids unsupervised.
When the van was stuffed to capacity, Mr. Awesome tracked down the kids and jammed them into the van between pillows and gifts and the tortoise tank. I was going from room to room shutting off lights when Mr. Awesome stopped me in the kitchen.
"We're good to go. The kids are in the van, we're just waiting for you."
"Okay, I'm just going to check the living room and then I'll be out."
"Its good. I checked. Just get in the van."
"I'll be there in a minute. I want to turn off Cloris (my frog lamp) and close the blinds."
"Trust me, its better for everyone if you just get into the van."
A wash of cold dread came over me as I pushed past Mr. Awesome and entered my living room, my kid-free, no TV sanctuary. My clean, comfortable grown-up space was now a disaster. There was Lego and Duplex and Playmobile and tea sets and Slinkies and markers and colouring books and Skittles and Life Savers and pony-tail holders and Barbies and card board and plastic and bows and wrapping paper E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E!
"Its a disaster! A the-world-has-come-to-an-end-we-must-eat-the-wounded-to-survive kind of disaster! Its like the apocalypse!"
"Nope, its just Christmas. Leave it, we're going to be late for my parents. The mess will be here when we get back."
And it was.