The Nightmare Before Christmas

Don't they look sweet in their matching outfits?

A few years back, I was asked to speak in church on Christmas Eve Day. I was given the subject: "How Mothers Can Help Their Children Remember the True Meaning of Christmas" and I was given five minutes...between the musical of which was me playing viola with Shayla on violin and Sam on cello...and the which I sang alto (or at least I tried--I'm not really a singer--we have a small choir and their desperate need of singers drove them to ask even me to pitch in) it was a busy Christmas Eve Sunday...did I mention I was Relief Society President at the time? Yeah.

So I worried and fussed about the talk and how I could cover that subject in five minutes and also spent a lot of time rehearsing with the youngsters so we could play our piece without setting the dogs in the vicinity of the church to howling so I was a little desperate by Saturday night and came up with this:

With apologies to Clement C. Moore, I would like to share with you my version of "The Night Before Christmas"...all of the events actually happened, but no names are mentioned to protect the not so innocent!

The Week Before Christmas

'Twas the week before Christmas, and somewhere in the house,

Mom was stirring up Home Teaching goodies for her spouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

Because she had dug them out of the attic and put them there.

When out in the family room, there arose such a clatter,

She sprang from the kitchen to see what was the matter!

The children were wrestling and knocked over the tree,

One had broken an arm and had to go to emergency.

Just as Mom's blood pressure was settling down,

Her husband came home, he had been out of town.

"I thought it would be nice to have my colleagues come here

For a Christmas get-together...don't worry, I'll help you dear!"

Those famous last words had been uttered before,

She knew he meant well--but HE would not be scrubbing the floor.

To top it all off she had to find something to wear...

The maternity sweats were comfortable but without the right flair.

It wouldn't be so bad except for her belly,

Which shook when she laughed like a bowl full of jelly!

The night of the party, the kids were wild in a chasing game

She hollered and shouted and called them by name:

"Now you and your brother go clean up your mess!

And you, still in your pj's...go put on a dress!

Go wash your faces and let me comb your hair,

You have to look nice even if you don't care!"

So the people they came, they ate and were merry

And when it was done, the dishes to the sink she did carry.

There was so much to do and time was running out

Is this really what Christmas is supposed to be about?

Just at that moment she lost all her reason

And got caught up in another crazy idea for the Season.

Her next thought: Matching outfits, so adorable

Too bad her oldest thought the idea was deplorable.

She got the girls fluffy dresses with lace at the hem

And sewed the boys vests and bow-ties to match 'em.

They all looked so sweet she had to drag them to the mall,

(She bribed them with promises of McDonald's--a rare treat for all!)

To Sears, to record the memory for relatives and friends--

For years she would be trying to somehow make amends.

There was only one kid from school who would tease without shame,

Of course that's who they saw as they were picking out a frame.

"Oh, hi there, don't you look so cute in your vest!"

"Yeah, don't worry, I'm sure my Mom is possessed!"

The ride home from the mall was really not pleasant one bit,

There was ranting about the humiliation and a legitimate fit.

Mom was tired and grumpy and feeling like a Grinch,

All the TV commercials made it look like a cinch!

She had baked and sewed and shopped and wrapped,

Now she was exhausted, her energy sapped.

She collapsed in a chair next to the tree

She just wanted a moment of quiet serenity.

Then her sweet little toddler peeked around the door

She had read to him and tucked him in, but he wanted more.

His eyes how they twinkled, his dimples so cute,

He needed her time and attention, not presents and loot.

So she made a promise to him and to herself,

No more knocking herself out to be the Christmas elf.

She would keep the traditions that drew the family close,

And put time into service for those that needed it most.

Her husband heard her exclaim as he dozed off that night,

"A Better Christmas for all, now that I've seen the light!"

(Just a final PS: a few years later, the same child broke his/her arm AGAIN. Same arm, same holiday, different year)


Abbie said…
This picture of your kids is the way I remember them. I bet I wouldn't recognize any of them today. I enjoyed your poem, especially now that I am a mother. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. It is such a fun way to keep in touch with people. You and your husband were always an inspiration to me.

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