One of the downsides to being the wife of a meteorologist (for the NWS, not on T.V.) is that weather is never-ending. It is 24/7 and 365 days a year. Because of this, meteorologists are hard at work 24/7 and 365 days a year. I knew when I married my husband that he would be gone more holidays than he would be at home. It is one of the many reasons the spouses of NWS meteorologists are referred to as “Weather Widows” (or widowers). It doesn’t make it easy though.
This year, for the second year in a row, my husband had to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. How would we have a Christmas morning with presents if Daddy was at work?
Our celebration started on Christmas Eve. We let the girls play after dinner then my husband got them ready for bed. As he was busy with Ginny and Grace, I was in the kitchen doing prep work for our Christmas dinner. I had chosen to make something using the slow cooker because it would be difficult to pull together anything else with my toddlers. With the girls all dressed in their PJs, my husband read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to them for the first time. They were captivated, hanging on to every word. As soon as the story ended, Ginny was put to bed. Grace took a bit longer (she is not a fan of sleep on a good day).
On Christmas morning, our toddlers awoke to a normal day. There was no fan fare. No extra presents under the tree. Santa Claus had not come to our house. Not yet, anyway. Daddy dressed them in their pretty Christmas dresses and got them breakfast as I worked on putting Christmas dinner in the slow cooker. By 7:20 a.m., the girls were eating breakfast as DH left for work. After a couple hours of playing and a phone call from my family in Florida, it was time for us to go to Christmas Mass. Following mass, we would go to my husband’s office to eat lunch with him.
As we headed to church, I tried explaining to Ginny and Grace why we were going. That we were going to say Happy Birthday to Jesus. I encouraged my oldest to say, “Happy Birthday, Jesus” or even just “Merry Christmas,” with no success. Instead, she was focused on her daddy. She wanted to find him. I explained to her that we would find him after Mass. Being a typical toddler, her single-minded focus would not be redirected no matter how hard I tried.
We ended up surviving Mass, only using the cry room toward the end in a desperate attempt for me to maintain my sanity. From there, we got in our van and headed north to my husband’s office. Along the way, Ginny suddenly decided she no longer wanted to find Daddy. She would rather go home. However, once Ginny saw her daddy, she was thrilled. We had an enjoyable brief time together eating lunch as a family on Christmas with my girls enjoying their mei fun (Ginny loves the noodles.). After being there for about 45 minutes, we left, heading home for naps.
Ginny went down for her nap easily. All I had to do was mention that Santa would come with presents once she was asleep for her nap. She bolted into her closet to take her nap. (Yes, my daughter likes to sleep in her closet. I am an enabler.) Then, I put Grace in a crib in our room. She wasn’t happy about that, but it had to be done. Soon, Santa Claus delivered all the toys he had for the family. After he left, I retrieved Grace to nurse her and put her down for her nap. She woke long before her sister and was delighted at the new toy kitchen that Santa had left.
When my husband arrived home from work, he woke up Ginny and brought her out to see the tree. She loved the kitchen and would have played with it longer had we not suggested opening all the other gifts under the tree. Ginny enjoyed opening every present. She opened every gift under the tree herself: her gifts, her sister’s gifts, and the gifts for my husband and me. Watching our girls play with their new presents and each other brought huge smiles to our faces.
As my husband cleaned up and played with the girls, I finished up dinner. It was hard convincing Ginny to leave her toys, but we eventually did so. Of course, she refused to eat what was served. Not wanting a fight on Christmas, I let her eat a hot dog. (Yes, I caved, but normally I don’t.) Then, after dinner was done, I added candles to a special birthday cake. We were starting a new tradition, one we hope to continue for years. A birthday cake for Jesus. We sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus then blew out the candles.
Despite my DH having to work, our Christmas Day was special and wonderful. It was full of happy memories (I’m sure I’ll block out the memories from Mass) and lots of joy. We also spent time talking about and remembering what Christmas is all about. In the end, that is what matters most.