I got the case of the giggles right in the middle of the Christmas Eve service tonight. During the second verse of a bouncy carol I didn't recognize. I blame it on my son, who was purposely singing off key. and making up new lyrics to the old standards. If anyone was looking at him, they would've thought he was sullenly just "getting through" the church service.......... head down and not really paying attention. Well, he was sort of doing just that. Church isn't his cup of tea. Religion isn't logical to him. Philosophy however, is another matter. Thats FOOD for a beyond the horizon brain of his because that kind of thinking verse goes on and on forever.
However, he was singing. Off key! Loud enough only for me and his sister to hear his comedic attempts. Methinks he was verging on landing on Santa's naughty list for his subversive humour. It was a welcome respite..... sometimes Max just knows how to put his own stamp on perspective.
Interestingly, my son still believes........... in Santa. Or at least tries very hard to believe it. I caught him online checking out the Norrad Santa tracking site this afternoon!!! When he was around 9 years old, he told his sister that there has to be Santa Claus because there was no way Mom and Dad would buy all those presents! Yeah, he managed to get his head around St. Nick. It made more sense to him than any other explanation. Still does.
He even managed to get to bed earlier tonight than he has in months. Same with my daughter, except she has a reason to retreat under the covers. She's been working her tushie off in the mad world of RETAIL, right up to the mall closing bell tonight. She could hardly keep her eyes open during the church service. It was a valiant attempt that reminded me of the years I would be working crazy hours in retail at her age, so bone tired and weary of listening to Christmas jingly tunes for two months......
A couple of times, I could feel her lean on me for a quick respite. There was absolutely no way she had the energy to follow along with any zippity verve though she did her best. She gave up trying to find the right page or the right spot on the service guide and let me guide her. Her brothers' off key singing most certainly helped too. So did recognizing half the congregation whom she served at the store or whom she knew in another life context.
My two beauties are now sound asleep in their own beds and I sit here in front of the Christmas tree with a sense of gratitude. It was a hilarious drive home, zigzagging up and down the neighbourhood streets to gawk at the lights on snow covered lawns, and listening to Max's one liner banter based on his observations. He had us laughing so hard.... a feat he has accomplished since the kid learned how to walk! He can be so quiet when others are around, but then he can open up like a good stand up comedian when the urge hits him. We are the recipients of his gift.
Yesterday, was the same. Martha arrived home from an 8 hour stint selling with just enough downtime to hang out with us while I prepared for our annual open house. Max, who had been relatively insular most of the afternoon, turned it on and the three of us enjoyed a few good laughs in the kitchen. It began when he appeared from the basement with a pair of "emergency" underwear on his head. The rest of the prepping was put aside as we caught up and connected. It continued between the two of them for another hour or so as I went off to get myself ready for the arrival of our friends........ I could hear them sharing stories and singing to favourite songs that were blaring from a bouncy tune CD mix we have listened to during car trips to and fro.
It has been a stressful two years, no doubt about it. Changes and learning to accept the reality that their Dad doesnt live here anymore has been an ever evolving process. Top it off with my health scare, AND the fact that Martha is moving out on New Year's Day to begin her academic studies at a University two hours from home, as well as all the other transitions that are simply part of life and its safe to say that we have had our fair share of flesh wounds during adjustments. It will continue......... that's how growth occurs...... and where it occurs best is in a place called uncomfortable.
You can't halt change, and God knows you can't avoid the daily reminders. Tonight, as I sat in between my growing children (they are both taller than me now), one leaning on me out of sheer fatigue and another piping out a carol off key on purpose, the laughter oozing out of my pores could not be fully suppressed. Joyful noise simply cannot be and should not be suppressed. Neither can gratitude found in the levity between the discomfort.
This was our first Christmas Eve just the three of us. It would be a lie if I said that this little piece of awareness hadn't poked me in the gut a few times over the past couple of days. I'm sure my children experienced similar moments of gut poking reality. Individually we have had to figure it out. Collectively we fed off each other's coping gifts. This is why I find myself in a place of thanksgiving. The evening certainly didn't unfold as I had envisioned it. When does that ever happen? Rather, it unfolded from its own flow from love, understanding, belonging and acceptance.......... from our strengths and vulnerabilities, but mostly from our inner resilience that has been nurtured by all of the components I've mentioned.......
Time to find out where that Jolly old white haired man hid those stockings. Time to unleash the "Spirit we call Holy" that sits under the tree............. Time for me to find my own bed as I count my overwhelming blessings.
Merry Christmas to you and your families............. May this season offer you a case of the giggles at least once.