I had had enough! The kids were behaving spoiled, ungrateful children, my mother-in-law was pouting like a 4 year old and I was exhausted from all the preparations! I am so going to cancel next Christmas.
Then Christmas morning arrives....My dear hubby is still at work at the firehouse, so I have to somehow keep the kids from opening the presents that Santa brought until he gets home.
The boys come in my room first. They don't seem to realize that Santa has come. I hear my daughter's footsteps lead to the living room. There is a pause. I hear her running down the hallway. She bursts in the room telling her sweet story of discovery. I wish I had a camera.
What brings me to tears is my oldest son's reaction to the stocking stash. We had decided that the kids could empty their stockings in the hopes that it will keep them busy until their dad comes home. So, I'm busy in the living room with something and I sent the older kids to get their stockings. My daughter starts calling out her loot and squealing with her excitement at each discovery. My oldest son is strangely silent. I glance into the dining room and see him studying something he's taken from his lot. Turning it this way and that....then he comes running to me with a big smile of excitement and exclaims, "look, Santa gave me underwear!" (He had grabbed my husband's by mistake. And, yes, that's what I put in their dad's stocking)
My daughter gave the appropriate oohing noises with a slightly confused look on her face.
In that moment, I felt the Christmas joy. My son is not some greedy, ungrateful, spoiled child. My daughter is not so self-absorbed or mean spirited. I love my children.
Still can't stand the mother-in-law, but that's really ok.