21 Dec
2013
Posted in: parenting
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Christmas Lights Tour

Driving around town looking at houses adorned with Christmas lights and blowup decorations is one of our favorite seasonal family activities. We count nativity scenes and vote on which home is our favorite. The excitement is palpable leading up to loading up the car and heading out. Tonight we ate dinner, the kiddos took baths and put on pajamas. We made hot chocolate in to-go cups and loaded up the vehicle.

Before I even got into the garage, our 4-year-old had spilled her hot chocolate. Craig was cleaning up a mess in the middle row before we’d even opened the garage door. We reminded everyone to hold the cups with two hands and rolled out of the driveway. There was begging for the car to be warmer. The temperature was hanging around 25 degrees, and the heater just wasn’t working fast enough. Ten minutes later A spilled her hot chocolate again. So much for two hands. I was leaning behind me trying to clean up what I could while the boys groaned, A pouted and Craig looked for a spot to pull-over. The two boys in the back helped clean up what had dripped underneath the seat, and A lost her hot chocolate privileges.

Christmas lights

We regrouped and headed back out. Within 10 minutes, A was sound asleep in the now toasty-warm vehicle. The boys were busy looking down side streets, trying to spot the next greatest light show. There was lots of exclaiming and pointing. There was talk about LED lights being too bright, white lights being too plain and how the pickings seemed sparse this year. Decorated houses seemed few and far between. There was a house with a Christmas tree inside its front bay window hanging upside down. How and why were much talked over in our car. There was a house with a projector Santa in an upstairs window which had all the kids wondering if Santa had made a special trip from the North Pole, and there was the street with six houses in a row brightly lit.

The evening wasn’t perfect, typical of my mothering journey. We faced the twice-spilled hot chocolate and didn’t let it stop us from the goal of seeing lights. It was real life though. The nights I cherish. There was bickering and messes, but there was laughing and joking. There were two sleeping kids and thankful hearts for a tradition kept.

My boys are officially on winter break. I’m looking forward to having them around. The older they get, the less I feel like I see them. We’re racing to Christmas with four days until the biggest of the holidays, and my heart is full with the perfect and not-so-perfect moments.

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