IMG_3341Christmas comes like a whirlwind. It starts with the arrival of one family,  then through the morning more families show up. Relatives arrive as well. With each family, there is more chaos. Empty car seats are lined up near the door, like road racers at the starting line.  The couches strain under the weight of winter coats, mounded high, with a few sliding to the floor as the kids fly by.

All the seats are used up and people are sitting on the floor. Chatter and laughter rings through the house. Those who are here are grazing the finger foods, swapping stories and laughing. There is a strong impulse from the toddlers to go down to the basement because that is where Grandma has the big kid toys. It is also where presents like mountain boulders wrapped in Christmas paper and glitter, are piled high around the Christmas tree. The suspense continues as we wait for the rest of the family to arrive.

When all are here, the toddlers, knowing what to expect and not knowing what to expect, stampede down the stairs. What happens next is a cacophony of sights, sounds, and laughter. Time stops as the gift giving continues. I don’t know what time it is. There were excited children, excited parents, excited grandparents.

In my mind I step back and marvel at the gifts I have been given. I have been given the gift of my wife. What an amazing partner she is. As the children have come along, they have taught me how to be a father. Then there are the grandkids. We are just on the cusp of understanding what that means. To have so many little ones so quickly is truly overwhelming in the the best of ways.  I am touched by the thoughtfulness of my children in the gifts they give. I see my children happy, I see their children happy. I see my wife happy.  These are the presents I treasure under our tree.