It is 6 am and I am up with an 18 month old toddler.  Notice I am finally calling her a toddler, not a baby.  I am growing up.

Christmas Eve is in two days.  I have not wrapped a single gift for my children.  I don’t know why, really, except that this year, Christmas kind of just snuck up on me.  I knew it was coming, I still have signs of hypothermia from standing in line at Toys R Us on Black Friday on the one cold morning in Texas this year.  So, intellectually, I was well aware of it’s looming presence.

I just can’t seem to swing the cheer this year.

I can blame a lot of things, I suppose.

I am still recovering from an incredibly stressful move to a house that turned into a cash drain and has left us in precarious position.  I found out about my Grandma’s cancer a few weeks after Black Friday and learned of her passing yesterday.  My almost 12 year old dog is teetering in the edge of death.  And I have no place in this house yet to wrap and stash presents.

Add to that my disappointed in the fact that, during the epic disaster of moves, I dreamed of hosting Christmas at my house for the first time ever, planned my country Christmas down to the yule tide logs on an open fire, only to have it taken from me at the last minute by another member of the family. It is really OK, in the long run, because I know my stress level is less now that I don’t have to host, but the initial sting sort of took what was left of my Christmas spirit and threw it on the fire.

It is not that I am bitter, sad, or necessarily depressed.  I mean, there are way worse things in this planet to be upset about.  It is just that my Santa hat has fallen off.  And I am not sure where it is now.  I think the kids have gotten a hold of it.  They have stuffed it full of Strawberry Shortcake dolls, drawn on with a water proof marker (that is only water proof if played with in water), and crammed it into one of their many doll beds, toy drawers, or stashed it under their beds.

I need to find it though.  Dust it off, and put its wrinkled, tattered, manipulated fuzzy happiness back on my head.

Because this is Christmas.

And Christmas is no longer about me and the issues I might be having.  It is about the complete blessing that each of my children is to me. With all of their bad habits and difficult sleeping schedules and impossible attitudes, they are mine.  Gifts from a Man who gave his life so that I could be forgiven for mine.

And though they may be gift wrapped in torn paper and their bows might be a little off center, they are shiny, beautiful, amazing gifts that I am eternally grateful for.  Every day, I have the opportunity to unwrap a little more of each of them. Revealing their inner wonderfulness that exudes innocence and love.  I get to touch them, hold them, and revel in their play.  I am honored to be called mommy….  even if it means I have to stop what I am doing and pick them up for the 8,000 time in an hour.

It is not lost on me that so many people can not do this with their children.  For whatever reason, their are families out there with grieving hearts, wishing their children back under their tree.  Soldiers at war wanting to be home, mothers who have lost this year in miscarriage, children taken before their parents way too soon, and families dealing with illness.

So despite my complete exhaustion from a whole three hours of sleep last night, my own personal, selfish wishes, and my recent loss, I will spend today looking for my Santa hat.  Even if I have to staple it to my head, I will be wearing it by the time I lay my head on my pillow tonight.

And I will be jolly and bright. I will come to town and my belly will shake like a bowlful of jelly.  

Because this year, I have everything I want.  And not one thing I don’t.

Including my Santa hat.