Merry Christmas 2013

"And so this is Christmas…" I jumped up this morning from a happy dream into a cold sweat. The next few months are going to be tight, how am I going to make it? That's all I could think about. And then it kicked in. The drive. So I put on a pot of extra strong coffee and sat down to fight deep copy versus shallow copy on javascript arrays. Yes, I was working. And the coffee was excellent. Santa hasn't made it here yet. I suppose he is waiting for me to go pick up the kids since I was up half the night. My tree looks like shit, but has character thanks to the cat. And I am OK with this. IMG_20131225_112302_282 After resolving a few bugs, I decided it was time to make the phone calls and text messages and FaceBook messages to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. The work can wait. Well, no, it really can't wait. But, family and friends come first, and long after the kids are worn out this evening and well on their way to dream land, I will be up. Working. But until then, I think that I should really put it down and see how my skills with wrapping paper and tape are this year. Probably not any better than the last 10 years. The kids will be here in a few hours, and although this year is *light* - it will still be a good time. I had a weird, sinking feeling yesterday. This is the first year since the divorce that I have not taken the kids to Orlando for Christmas. With the way Christmas fell on Wednesday and their school holiday schedule, it just didn't make sense. Usually I'm writing this from warmer weather, and it kind of makes me sad. The kiddos understand, but this is our thing. Last year peppered our vacation with 24 hour stomach bugs, but we got through it and made the best of it with trying to find Lego Santas in LegoLand. And then there is the whole waking up on Christmas morning to presents under the tree. It's become a coming over at 3 PM to find presents under the tree. I suppose that it does relieve Santa of some pressure to get here in the middle of the night. He's a busy guy, for sure! Well, maybe it doesn't really matter. I mean, it's Christmas. And what ever we do together is what is important. I'll spend the afternoon and evening with the kids, the dog, the cat. And I'll probably cook a horrible dinner tonight because I don't feel like cooking. But that is OK, we are together. So to all of you out there... Merry Christmas!

On raising children or Merry Christmas

I lost it tonight, I broke down so bad that I had to step out onto the porch. The Elves at the resort we are staying at made the long and harsh round trip to the North Pole to bring back stockings for the kids from Santa. The kids had just finished eating left over pizza and were in the middle of consuming ice cream when the knock came to the door. "Who is that?" I opened the door to two Elves dressed in green and red, both happened to be female, I'll come back to that fact in a moment. Eyes brightened, smiles surfaced, but since they are both shy, I did have to coax them from their ice cream, but it didn't take too much. They each took their stocking and said thank you with the biggest smile on their face, said "Merry Christmas" and retreated to our room. Before I could even close the door, from the confines of our vacation residence, I could hear the excitement coming from the dining room table. My daughter, carefully removing items from the stocking one by one, noting in her head each item, then gently placing it on the table. My son, on the floor, presumably dumped it out and then performing an inventory while singing Frosty the Snowman. I listened to the "I got a candy cane" and the "me too" conversation as the both went back through every item in the stocking. "Look, Daddy, this year our ornaments are red." The blue ones hanging on our tree at home from last year are probably their most prized ornaments, they may now have competition. Meanwhile, back at the ranch (my head), someone decided to open the irrigation pipes. I didn't exactly know why at the time, but I knew that I was on the brink of losing it. I kissed them both on the head and quietly excused myself to the back porch. After regaining control (to an extent) I returned to the still excited atmosphere and sat down on the floor to play a game of magnetic tic tac toe with my son while my daughter asked my opinion on names for her stuffed snowman. I then tried to assess what a Bottle of Snow was and determined that it was candy since you could call an 800 number for nutritional information. "Daddy, let's go." Exactly where they were asking me to go I wasn't sure, but their tired and worn out little bodies suddenly had bucket fulls of energy. I knew I was in trouble! They wanted to go searching for the Christmas tree lighting party at the pool, well, my daughter did. My son wanted to (circling back to the female Elves) go find the girls. I decided to be brave and ask him which one. "The one on the left, Daddy, the other one was too short!" I'm sorry son, yeah, she was cute, but she's got close to 2 feet on you, not to mention 20 years, but that's OK, lets go! We never found the party, we never found the girls. We did have a nice walk around the property holding hands, laughing and being silly. It was a nice end to our vacation, another one that I will never forget. Tears of joy: I'm writing this at 2 AM on Christmas Eve with a soaking wet Kleenex right next to me, call me sappy, call me sentimental. Maybe it's the magical moments, the ones that bring joy, excitement, laughter. Maybe it's the innocent perception of life in a child's eyes. Maybe it's family, the family that we've made from what we've been dealt. Maybe it's ritual, annual, things to look forward to. Maybe it's all those things. No. It is those magical moments, when you look upon your children and realize how wonderful they are, and how lucky you are. It is about those times when you do something so small for them that  they think you have given them the world. It is about family and life and all the little things. It is how you treat them and how they respect you. It is about finding joy, excitement and laughter in life. I take a break and end up looking at myself in the mirror. I haven't shaved in 4 days (I forgot to pack a razor), I've been shedding tears and generally look like crap tonight. But I know 100% that I'm giving these kids all that I am and they are turning out pretty dang good. That's all we can hope for, right? So this Christmas Eve I do not have 10 things, I have 2. To my daughter and my son, I love you to the moon! Merry Christmas my friends, may God bless you!