It’s the night before the night before Christmas and I’m getting so excited. I am hoping that all goes well and we can have the imperfect but totally usual time of a family Christmas.

Children celebrating Christmas

My grandchildren are seven, five, four, and one. Last year was the first year I ever got to spend the day with a grandchild. It was heavenly. She was six months old and really had no idea what was going on. Everything was new and different and every day was special. It was really great that people kept giving her boxes wrapped in all this fabulous and delicious paper. She spent the day finally getting hold of a scrap of paper, getting it to her mouth, and having it taken away.

Regardless of that last bit of mishap, it was still a fun day. At least for all the grandparents as well as the parents who got to watch this small miracle – this tiny child – unaware of much at all but being smothered in love.

It was so much fun to have the Christmas experience as the same time as the rest of the world was celebrating the day.

Every year prior to this, I had a different sort of Christmas. I had a Christmas knowing my grandchildren were having lots and lots of fun – without me. They were far away and I wasn’t able to share the special day. For six years I knew first one, then two, and finally three little people were waking up to the wonder of Santa Claus and being so excited they couldn’t stand it. And not being able to share it.

This year, for the very first time – even though this is the eighth Christmas I’ve been a grandmother – this year I get to have Christmas with all four grandchildren. On the very day of Christmas. Not some second rate thing in January, but on December 25.

I get to see or hear about the wonderful stuff Santa Claus managed on the day Santa Claus managed it.

I’ve tried over the years not to be too disappointed in missing this special day. I know there are limits to what families can do. I’ve tried to be understanding and hope I didn’t whine or cause grief to the parents. It has been very difficult to not ask when I was going to get a turn, but it would have only added more stress to parents who were already stressed out anyway.

I am lucky enough to be able to visit the kids frequently, although it means I spend at least as much time in the car as I do with grandchildren. It is a sacrifice I’ve been willing to make, time and time again. I appreciate having the opportunity, even though it is for a short time.

I would like to report that I’m high minded and don’t mind all this, but it would be a lie. I have actually done the math, calculating how many hours I’ve spent in the car vs. how many hours I’ve spent with the kids and compared that against the “other” family’s car time and kid time. I won on car time, but severely lost on the kid time.

And I always lost Christmas.

I should feel really bad that this year, the “usual” Christmas pattern had to be disrupted. I should feel saddened that the kids couldn’t get to the other house and have time with their other aunts and uncle. But quite frankly, I’m not.

In fact I’m thrilled that I get to have this special day for the first time. The kids will have time with their aunt and uncle AND with their cousin, something they have never done before, either.

So, I’m probably a horrible person for being so happy but I can’t help it. For the very first time, I get to spend Christmas with all of my grandchildren. It should be a miracle sort of day.