The Night Before Christmas...
When our kids are little, it's all about getting them to sleep as every sound 'could' be Santa or his reindeer on the roof. It's pleading for a bit of shut-eye to get those last-minute gifts wrapped - the ones that were not under the tree the night before.
Each year, that Christmas magic wanes a bit as kids mature. You enter certain phases where they've outgrown toys and you struggle with what to get for them. You ask for lists, but half the time relatives don't understand what your kid has even listed. It's almost more work explaining what an Ocarina of Time is and why it's important than it is to just order it yourself and slap a "from Nana" label on it.
The Christmas you never see coming is the one right before they leave home. The one where it's the last year before college and they've matured into this adult - this person who you always knew they'd be but just couldn't fathom it.
It hit me today. With this being my kid's senior year - this is his last Christmas as a resident in our house. Will he be home next Christmas? Yes, but he'll be traveling home for it. He'll be coming home, anxious to leave to get back to his life. I remember being that age. I came home, but I was an entirely new person with experiences that had shaped me into an independent adult - ready to leave when the break was over.
So, this Christmas - I made the guys decorate the tree with me because, for the last couple of years, my son has been too busy with his friends or homework. This year, I didn't take no for an answer. It'll be the last year he will be here to help me. And my heart is breaking just a bit...
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. Cherish every moment.