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I call it the “Christmas Jitters.” My sister would call it downright obnoxious. My parents made a rule, to prevent being disturbed by it. I thought a sleep deprived Mommy would have not time for it… but I DOOOOOO!!! Mildly, I would describe the Christmas Jitters as a butterfly feeling in my stomach… but it is SO much more. I don’t know what it is about the night before Christmas… but I feel like an adrenaline crazed weasel… bouncing from floor, to wall, to ceiling… over and over again… all night long. I haven’t ever been able to get more than a few hours of sleep.

I am sure my parents were elated when I learned to read numbers… because I’m pretty sure that is when the “Christmas Jitters Action Plan” went into effect. I don’t exactly remember HOW they did it… but I knew that if I opened their bedroom door and woke them up before the clock said SEVEN-ZERO-ZERO, it wouldn’t be good. Unfortunately, for my younger sister, they didn’t banish me to my room. I would wake up around 3am (much like I did this morning), go into her room, wake her up (which drove her crazy) and insist on talking until the clock said SEVEN-ZERO-ZERO… until I got a Game Boy. Then, I would just sit in her room with the light on and play. I always remember her putting up with me for a while, getting agitated, scooting over, and telling me to get in bed and go to sleep. Two tiny people, snuggled up together… one completely asleep… the other completely silent… just watching the numbers on the clock.

SEVEN-ZERO-ZERO! GET UP! I would fling the covers off the two of us, we would leap from the bed… race down the hall… fling Mom and Dad’s door open and scream, “MERRY CHRISTMAS! GET UP! GET UP! IT’S CHRISTMAS!”

We would then all have to brush our teeth (which seemed to take hours)… wait for everyone to pee (holy cow, what takes you all so long to pee?!?!)… then my sister and I had to sit on the top step and wait for Mom to make coffee (is she walking to Brazil for those beans?!?!). By this point, I was usually jumping out of my skin. “YOU DON’T NEED COFFEE! YOU DON’T NEED COFFEE! COME ON, COME ON, ┬áCOME ON… We want to see if SANTA came!!!”

Dad would usually look up the stairs, cock his head to the side, purse his lips, and shake his head… look up at us and say, “Well, he didn’t come. Just kidding!” We always knew he was kidding… of course Santa wouldn’t skip our house… I HAD WAITED UNTIL SEVEN-ZERO-ZERO!

We would rush down the stairs, turn the corner, and see our tree… lit up… with a fine spread of gifts for our family.

Now, I’m a mom. Passing on traditions and memories like this are my responsibility. For some reason… I thought the Christmas Jitters would be overpowered by a yearning for sleep. NOPE! The Christmas Jitters are here. But now, instead of waiting until SEVEN-ZERO-ZERO to leave my room… I am sitting quietly in the dark living room, basking in the glow of Munchie’s first Christmas tree. He doesn’t know it yet… but Santa came!

Merry Christmas and much love… from our family to yours.

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