I’ll start my Christmas day at 3am with a kid bouncing in my bed yelling “Mom, Mom,Mom” over and over again. I thought I was dreaming until Ben started to laugh. I lifted my head out from under my pillow and glared at Logan, who was grinning at me from ear to ear.
“Of course your first word would be for her,” Ben said as he grabbed Logan and started to tickle him.
I started to cry. I couldn’t help it. My boy gave me the best Christmas present ever. When Ben stopped tickling Logan, he sat up and looked at me. Logan crawled over and climbed in to my lap when I sat up. He touched my face.
I sniffled and hugged him until he started wiggling.
It’s amazing how quickly they use a tonal inflection to make you laugh. I smiled and let him go. He pointed at the door and made his sign for star. Ben laughed and tucked him into bed with us, snuggling him close.
“It’s three am, Logan. It’s not time for the tree yet.”
Logan sighed and wiggled out of bed again.
“Mooooom,” he said as he looked at me.
I looked at Ben. “It’s Christmas.”
“Not at three am in the morning.”
“Yes, at three am in the morning. Get up,” I said as I slid out of bed and pulled on my robe.
Logan squealed and scrambled off the bed, running for the door and into the hallway. I walked over and peeked out just in time to see Logan run in to the room that all the children had shared for the night. I grinned and looked over at Ben, who was still running his hand through his hair and sitting in bed.
“Why did we have kids?”
“You wanted them and I thought they were cute.”
Ben slid out of bed and pulled me in to a hug. “You love them too.”
“I never denied that I love them. I just said they were cute,” I said as I leaned in to his arms.
We stayed like that until a quartet of kids interrupted us.
“Mom, Mom, Mom!” Logan said.
“Logan, Logan, Logan,” I said as I scooped him up. “Lets go see what’s under the tree.”
Cheers and kids running for the stairs echoed through the hall way. Ben sighed and I grinned at him.
“Come on, Dad. Let’s go see what Santa brought.”
Ben smiled at me and pulled on his robe. He linked his fingers with mine and we walked down stairs. All four kids were lined up in front of the tree, staring. When I saw what they were looking at, I started to laugh.
We’d chosen the large tree in the center of the north wall in the Great Hall for the gift tree. Gifts were piled everywhere and extended out from the tree three feet in each direction.
“I think I went overboard,” I muttered.
“Ya think?” Ben said, looking down at me.
I grinned up at him and clapped my hands, announcing that it was time for stockings.
Miles and Mark came shuffling in to the room while the kids were opening theirs up.
“Three am?” Miles asked.
“Three am,” Ben replied.
“I wish she’d thought to grab me for this. I wanted to see his face when he saw the tree,” Mark said.
“She started up a camera in the tree last night. You can see his face later,” Ben said. “She started them on stockings because she knew you’d want to be here for gifts.”
Mark looked up at Ben and sighed. “I have trouble sharing. I just wanted to be here.”
“That’s why she started the camera. She knew you’d want to see his face. She just wasn’t sure when the kids were going to wake up.”
“They’re all going to crash before noon,” Miles said in to his hand as he yawned.
“That’d be a mercy,” Ben grumbled.
“Did anyone wake Jude?”
“The kids took care of that,” Jude said as she came in to the hall, tying her belt.
Ben kissed his mom on the cheek. “Happy Christmas, Mom.”
“Happy Christmas, my boy,” She said to him, hugging him hard.
I smiled over at all of them where they were standing in the doorway. I motioned for them to come in and laughed when Logan said his word again.
“Oh, that’s gotta be the best Christmas present,” Jude said.
“You better believe it.”
I passed out stocking to the adults who ooh’d and ahh’d over DVDs, pocket games and other small trinkets. It was finally time for presents and I was pretty sure that I wasn’t totally responsible for everything under the tree. As we opened gifts, my suspicions were confirmed. There were quite a few toys of questionable origins under the tree. Most notably, the Nerf guns. I actually put my face in my hands at those. There were clothes and the traditional socks as well. We lost a little bit of time when the Sheriff showed up, hoping to sneak in before we all woke up.
“What?” I said when he looked at me.
“It’s four am.”
“Kids. They woke us up at three.”
The Sheriff groaned. We all laughed. The kids went back to opening up gifts. The boys flipped out over the matchbox cars and the R/c monster trucks. I was a little worried that we’d given them too much, but they were handling it well. Alphonse crawled in to my lap halfway through and stayed there, opening up gifts as fast as the Twins as soon as he got a handle on the fact that they were for him and he got to keep them. He was the one I was most worried about. He’s a naturally shy child anyway, but the noise and all the gifts were overwhelming him. He handled it though, and I’m so very proud of my boy.
Logan on the other hand, was his usual self. Getting into everything as fast as possible and grinning up at me when he was told to slow down. The adults were having just as good a time. Jude brought us all back something from South America. I got a fabulous new skirt and Ben got a new hat for when he’s out in the sun. Miles was given an amazing poncho which he wouldn’t shut up about. Mark was given a new hand-made mug for his coffee. Somehow he’d broken his favorite mug before Jude left and she remembered him. He got a little teary at that point. He doesn’t really talk with his folks.
There was a couple of minutes where we had to stop and drag the dogs out from under all the torn wrapping paper and box. Gibbs and Winston seemed to think it was great fun to run through it and crash in to everyone. We lured them to the hallway and put up a gate so they could still watch, but not crash into anyone anymore. Gibbs was immediately offended and offered his opinion by wailing loudly. Winston joined in until we let them back in to the room. I had to send Miles for a couple of trash bags for the wrapping paper so they wouldn’t eat anything they weren’t supposed to. We went back to unwrapping gifts after cleaning up a little.
For Ben I gave him a new stethoscope. His old one was starting to look a little worn. He also got a new journal from me. His old one was nearly full of his notes on his patients and their unusual attributes. Jude was given a key to the house, as was the Sheriff. We also gave Jude a new set of dig tools. She got misty and hugged us both hard. The Sheriff got a weekend stay at The Watch on us, along with a promise of watching the Twins. I could have sworn the man would have broken down crying at the thought of a vacation all by himself.
For Miles we had a hard time deciding, so Ben and I went with a shopping spree at his favorite store. He fainted. While the rest of us were laughing and trying to bring him back around, Mark opened up his gift and promptly burst in to tears. We’d given him a copy of every single photograph that we’d taken of Max and all of us in an album. Logan went and sat on his lap and nudge his arm so that he was cuddled in to his arms.
“Da.” he said.
It caused all of us to start sniffling. The Twins complained loudly that we were boring and they wanted to play with the new game system that their father had bought them. We had to talk them into finishing unwrapping all the gifts. It was six am before we finished. The kids were half asleep on the floor while playing with their toys and the adults were in the kitchen making breakfast.
“I do believe this was a successful Christmas,” I said before guzzling half my mug of coffee.
“It’ll only be successful if they fall asleep before ten am,” Miles grumbled.
I grinned over at him. “Need a nap already?”
“You weren’t the one doing the Santa shuffle at midnight while trying to keep four kids from seeing your face.”
“No, I wasn’t. How’d that go?”
“Pretty successful, I’d say. We waited until midnight and then did the whole sleighbells routine in front of the door until they woke up,” Mark said.
“We fake argued about taking a wrong turn and ending up at the wrong house.”
“You just had to all in Albuquerque,” Mark said to him.
“Of course I did,” Miles replied.
“and then?” I prompted.
“It was just like you said they would do. They came sneaking out with their flashlights as soon as we started down the stairs with the sacks of gifts,” Mark said. “Thanks for that, by the way. We had to make three trips.”
“You’re welcome. Did they get a kick out of it?”
“They had a fine time trying to hide from us as we piled the gifts under the tree. All four of them crammed behind that ugly cream couch in the Great Hall.”
Everyone in the room laughed as they pictured the scene Mark was laying out.
“Anyway, the little nippers stayed in the hall until we went back upstairs and did the sleighbell routine. Then they came running and the house provided an excellent sound of reindeer running on the roof for us.”
“Yeah, thanks for that.” Miles said.
“You’re welcome,” I said with a grin. “I’m glad everything went as planned. I wanted their first Christmas to be special.”
“It was,” Ben said as he kissed my hand.
“Now, who’s turn is it to make breakfast?” I asked as I looked around the room.
“Mine,” Jude said as she got up.
We all made a protest, but Jude shushed us all and kicked us out of the kitchen. I smiled up at Ben as I tugged him to the stairs.
“I have one last gift to give,” I said to him.
“Yeah. Come with me.”
I led him upstairs and in to our room, where I got out a pink box I’d stopped for on the way home from one of my shopping trips. Ben took one look at it, then at me, let out a loud whoop and picked me up, spinning us around. I laughed and kissed him.
“I do believe that is the best gift you could give me.”
“Us. Give us. I didn’t take it until last night before bed. You were already asleep.”
“Us, then,” He kissed me hard and settled us in to a chair. “When are we going to tell the others?”
“Later. This is for us now.”
“Best Christmas Ever,” He said as he laid his forehead on mine.
I had to agree.