My mom and dad have eight children.
No, no...that's not all. It gets crazier: So they have eight kids. That's eight Christmas lists; eight piles of presents hidden throughout their modest split-level. My parents provided a magical, Santa-fueled Christmas for EIGHT kids.
And there's more: When they were in the thick of it, with eight little believers (or "believers"...my older sister and I were the queens of pretending for the sake of the littles...) to shop for...there was no such thing as online shopping.
Seriously. I can not even begin to wrap my brain around how it was even possible to pull off Christmas without Amazon.
...until the day online shopping nearly ruined the Magic of Christmas.
Let me set the scene:
Evan is at school and Max, Molly, and I are taking advantage of Max's no-school Monday morning. They're still in jammies and we're up to our elbows in sugar cookie dough. Once the dough is mixed and chilling in the fridge, they decide to pull out the wooden train set while I try to knock out a stationery order. (For you new readers--welcome! Thanks for reading! In addition to being a mom and spilling my guts on this blog, I also make personalized stationery for kids.)
So, I'm in the office, which looks out onto our front porch. I'm printing out some notecards when I see a man in a familiar brown uniform standing at my front door. He has clearly just delivered a package and is about to ring the doorbell to announce it's arrival. I quickly meet him at the door and, through the window in the door, make the universal gesture to Shhhhhhh! OHMYGOD! Do NOT ring that doorbell! That is probably a CHRISTMAS PRESENT you just delivered and if you ring the bell, two small children will come running to greet you! They will demand to see who the package is for and will insist that we open the box Now! Mommy! Right now! Mommy!
I then wave him away with a smile and because he's probably a dad, he smiles knowingly back and quietly retreats off the porch.
[I have had a lot of practice with the white lies this year. Every time the kids notice a package on the porch (which is, like, every day because Hello, Christmas and Hello, online shopping), I tell them that it's a delivery either for my stationery business (which makes a bit of sense) or for Uncle Mike's juice company (which doesn't make any sense at all).]
So, as soon as I wave the UPS man away, I open the door to bring in, what I assume to be a smallish, nondescript Amazon box, which I would then tuck away in the office until after bedtime.
But on this morning, with two little ones who are constructing their own wooden version of the Polar Express just ten feet behind me...I open the door to see a huge box: five-and-a half feet in length and four feet tall...with a full-size drawing of the contents within: Our Family Gift...a tabletop air hockey table.
There was no explaining this one away with a casual "it's probably just boring stuff for Sara Kate Kids!"
I slammed that door so fast and near-screamed "I think the cookie dough is ready!"
Three hours later, as I was tucking Max into his bed with some books for Quiet Time, he looked at me square in the face and asked, "So who was that at the door this morning?" Refusing to meet his eye, I replied, with a kiss to the forehead, "Hmm? Not sure. I never even heard the doorbell ring..."
Thank you, Mr. UPS Man, for not ringing the doorbell. I've learned my lesson: Never again will I open that door in the month of December...unless the kids are asleep.
And, for the billionth time: Oh, my god, Mom and Dad. HOW did you do it?! I literally can't even...