Daddy’s Christmas Carol Part 5

Stave 5: Christmas at Last!

It was a blanket, and I had it wrapped tight around me as I lay next to Wife. I could tell it was cold outside, baby; but thanks to the blanket, Wife’s love, and Kitty sleeping and purring by our feet, I had plenty of love to keep me warm.

I opened my eyes just a little to check on Kitty, who had lifted its head and started to look around. We both heard footsteps heading in our direction. They got louder as they got closer to our fortress of slumber. Kitty got up on all fours and leapt off the bed. Just in time as The Boy made his appearance. He had a smile on his face and air underneath his body before crashing down on the bed between us. I think Kitty still has PTSD.

Wife jolted awake. She was ready to kill him, but the boy gave her a big, tight hug and said, “Merry Christmas!” This festive greeting reminded us that we needed to be extra vigilant in controlling our homicidal urges in the spirit of the season.

“Merry Christmas,” I said as I rolled over to give The Boy a hug. He pushed me away and resumed hugging my wife. The Oppressed came into our room with a smile. Wife saw her.

“Merry Christmas,” Wife said to her.

“Merry Christmas,” she said back as she ran to our bed and hugged me.

“Merry Christmas, Daddy,” she said.

“Merry Christmas,” I replied. I asked The Boy if I could have a hug, reminding him it was Christmas. I saw the back of his head shake, indicating, “No,” and continued hugging his mother.

Lovie then entered our room. She had an even bigger smile than The Oppressed.

“Merry Christmas,” Wife said to her.

“Merry Christmas,” she said. “Can we open presents?”

“Can the adults have coffee, first?” I asked.

“How about we make coffee first?” I suggested “Then, we can open presents while it finishes, and we can drink coffee while you kids open presents?”

“How about we open presents and then you can make coffee?” Lovie suggested, ever the humanitarian.

Wife told her to wake her other brothers. I took this opportunity to go downstairs and let Doggie out of her crate. As Doggie raced to the door to answer the call of nature, I heard what sounded like a drug raid taking place upstairs. Lovie flew the door open to the boys’ room unannounced. I heard yelling from the room.

“Wake up! It’s time to open presents!”

“Oh my God, what time is it?”

“It’s time to open presents. Stop sleeping!”

“Shut up! I’m tired.”

“Sleep tomorrow!”

I was in the kitchen at this point making coffee. After a few minutes, I answered the scratching on the door, signifying that Doggie had finished what she needed to do outside. The love and spirit of Christmas continued down the stairs as Lovie led the charge into the living room to see the loot Santa Claus had left for everyone.

“I want to give my presents to everyone first,” Lovie announced to everyone. The rest of the children stumbled into the living room, including The Gaggle, who was staying with us for the week. Wife was the last to come downstairs, barely able to keep her eyes open. We hugged each other and wished each other a Merry Christmas. The pot of coffee had just finished brewing, and I poured her and myself a cup before entering the madness that was unfolding in the living room.

Lovie was arguing with Slugger, who, apparently, had taken her seat. Lovie wanted the seat closest to the tree so she could supervise the handing out of Christmas presents. Of course, presents from her had to be opened first, and if anyone else was handing out presents, there was a chance hers wouldn’t be opened first.

Slick made his appearance and took a seat on the couch. He didn’t care whose presents got opened first. All he cared about was someone rudely woke him from his slumber, and it was Christmas Vacation.

The Gaggle took a seat next to Slick. Lovie was able to muscle Slugger away from the tree and assumed her role of gift-giver. The Boy sat next to Wife and The Oppressed sat with me. Presents were exchanged and opened. It was a nice Christmas morning filled with secrets that had been protected for weeks. Packages that had been smuggled into the house and locked away from prying eyes were finally allowed to see the light of day. Children were excited to try their new presents. Wife and I thanked each other for our presents. I got some nice clothes and, after a shower, I was eager to put on my new clothes and continue the celebration of Christmas.

After a few hours at home, we rounded up the cohort, packed the car with more gifts, and drove to my in-laws. There we handed out presents to relatives and shared in the joy of the Holidays. Dinner was then served, another fantastic spread put out by my mother-in-law, who is always cooking incredible food, especially during holidays.

Dinner. Dessert. My diet went off the rails again and it was going to be back to carrots and protein shakes soon enough. But for today, I partook in the feasting and festivities.

We went home that night. Children resumed playing with new gadgets and toys. Occasionally, one child proudly approached us to show us a gadget and what they learned to do with it. It got later into the night, and one-by-one, children started to go to bed. It was Christmas, but I still had my Daddy Duties. I read to The Boy and hung out with The Oppressed, who briefed me on the joy she felt on this most wonderful time of the year. She fell asleep, and I left her room. I made my way through the rooms of the house, shutting off lights as I made my way into the living room to turn off the Christmas tree. I surveyed the mass of Christmas goods strewn about the floor. More things around to test my agility as I try to negotiate my way from one room to another.

I made my way to the Christmas tree. Something caught my eye before I made it. It was a bottle of beer, much like one of the bottles I saw when The Ghost of Daddy Present haun- I mean – visited me. It had a nice red ribbon tied to it and a tag tied around the neck of the bottle. The tag read “The Christmas Spirit” and I smiled. I wasn’t going to drink it tonight. It was late and Daddy needs his beauty sleep. I would put it in the refrigerator and chill it proper for the following evening. After all, we should all keep the Christmas spirit year-round, right?

It’s time to open presents. Stop sleeping!

Lovie

A car slowly made its way past my house. It looked like Mr. Farley’s car. A horn sounded as it drove by. I smiled and waved just before the car disappeared from my sight. The Christmas tree went dark as the car disappeared.

I went upstairs, turning lights off as I made my way to my room. Wife was already fast asleep, as were the rest of my children. I head Doggie snoring in her crate. Kitty was curled up at the foot of my bed. It was just Wife in our bed until I climbed in to join her. I wondered how long this would last before another child decided to join us. It didn’t matter. I was tired and I was going to fall asleep fast. I would know someone else was in the bed when I wake up and try to look over at Wife.

And just like that, another Christmas came to an end. Mr. Farley didn’t visit me again, which I thought was rude. None of the spirits visited me again, but between the love my family has for each other, there’s plenty of the Christmas spirit to go around. And between all of my children, there’s enough haunting without ghosts.

Oh, well. That’s the life of a parent. You understand, I’m sure. Thanks for reading this irrefutably true story of the Christmas I shared with ghosts and spirits. I hope this story found you well and kept you company as you made your way through your own madness of preparing for Christmas at your home.

Oh, yeah… And God Bless Us, Everyone!

Drinking Coffee at Home

We all have our morning routines. If you’re like me, your routine includes a cup of coffee. Coffee helps me face the day and the challenges that come with it. It helps me wake up and I like to have something nice to drink when I am writing, reading, and/or editing.

A gif of a cup being filled with coffee.
My daily perk

I make coffee first thing in the morning. I am usually the first one up, but sometimes, The Oppressed or The Boy will be up waiting for me. The Boy, bless his heart sometimes takes a slight interest in something I am doing. If I am going to have a beer, he likes to open it for me. If I am going to pour it into a glass, he likes to pour it for me. It’s not a difficult task and he enjoys doing it, so I will let him.

The Boy has recently been up when I get up. This recent development is due to coffee. He doesn’t want to drink it. He wants to help me make it. By “help”, I mean he wants to make it. Himself. With no help from me.

The Boy makes sure he is up when I am up because, if I waited for him to get up at his normal time and make the coffee, I would be waiting for almost an hour for him. Plus, there’s the issue of his deciding what he wants for breakfast (that takes at least 20 minutes), getting ready for school (another 10-15 minutes), and finding his way to the car for the ride to school.

A boy filling a coffee pot with water.
Getting the water all by himself.

We start with the filter. I put the filter in and get the tin of coffee for the boy. The boy scoops the coffee out of the tin. I count for him. He admonishes me. He’s counting, not me. He doesn’t want any help.

On one of his first mornings of making coffee, I made him upset. Why, you ask? I wasn’t sure he could handle making it from the sink to the coffee machine with a pot full of water. I thought I was doing The Boy a favor by pouring the water into the machine for him. This was no favor and The Boy made sure I knew this. He wanted to do it all by himself, including pouring the water.

I’m only his father. What do I know? It’s not like I’ve been making coffee for 30 years.

The next day, he was up and ready to make coffee for me and Wife. He scooped the coffee into the machine. I got a cup out of the cabinet for him. He asked me what this was for. I told him it was to pour the water into the machine. He told me no, and reminded me about the coffee pot that comes with the machine. He was going to take the pot, fill it with water and pour it into the machine. Again, the boy is strong but he is also a boy. I explain to him that it would be easier if he used the smaller cup and made more than one trip, but I’m only his father. What do I know? It’s not like I’ve been making coffee for 30 years.

We’re able to reach a compromise. The boy will use the pot and he will also use a step-stool. I put the stool down for him. He promptly picks it up and puts it back down. He’s doing it all himself.

Coffee scooped, water poured, machine turned on. Now the boy can have breakfast. He has breakfast while the coffee brews. The coffee is done. He hurries to the cabinet to get a cup for Wife. The boy proudly pours his mother a cup of coffee and is ready to bring it upstairs to her. Along the way, he must deal with the dog, the gate that closes off the stairs, and the stairs, which can be tricky for a boy holding a cup of coffee. I offer to hold the cup of coffee for him while he opens the gate, but no. He doesn’t need my help. He’s doing this all by himself. As a parent, I’m not exactly thrilled with the idea of my son holding a hot cup of coffee while he walks across the house and up the stairs. He has thought of this. He uses a towel to protect his hands as he makes is way through said house and stairs.

A boy pouring cream into a cup of coffee.
Making Mom’s coffee all by himself.

He makes it upstairs and into the bedroom. He proudly presents his mother with a cup of coffee that he made all by himself. No help from his father at all. Wife thanks him and begins to enjoy her coffee. I go back to my reading and writing as I sip on my coffee poured from a pot that he made all by himself.

It’s Time for Coffee

Children are learning things every day. Sometimes they learn on their own and sometimes Wife or I need to teach them.

We had one such teachable moment with one of The Gaggle. They wanted to get a coffee. I stopped at a drive-thru so they could get one. The order was a little difficult as they kept changing their mind as to what it was they wanted. God bless the poor person taking the order. They never lost their temper or raised their voice once. Upon receiving the coffee, I drove away. I could see the look of disappointment in The Gaggle’s face as we made our way home.

“This is black,” they said.

“Yes. You wanted a black coffee,” I reminded them.

“They don’t put cream in a black coffee?”

I put my hand on the child’s shoulder and said no, they don’t put cream in a black coffee. That’s why they call it a “black coffee”. If the child had wanted cream, they should have said, “coffee with cream.”

“That’s dumb,” they said. “I should sue Starbuck’s”

I tell the child to go ahead and try, but Starbuck’s doesn’t care what just happened where we were.

“I mean McDonald’s.”

“Again,” I say, “Knock yourself out, but it’s not McDonald’s fault.”

“Wait,” they say as they look behind them, hoping to catch a glimpse of where we were. “Where were we?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “I’m driving. I need to look forward so I can see where we’re going.”

“Well, wherever we were,” they say as they turn back and get settled. “We should sue them. They screwed up my coffee.”

Of course they did.