About a week before Christmas, Sophia had a choir concert out at the outdoor mall here. It was, in a word: FREEZING. Much like my parents' house, but that's a story for another day.
After she sang, I took the kids for Early Dinner at a restaurant at the mall. Adam was going to meet us after work. To make small talk, I said "So, what do you guys wanna do when we get to Grammy and Poppy's?" Last year, Christmas was non-stop FUN for the kids, so I assumed they'd be excited.
Until I glanced at Ethan and realized he was trying (unsuccessfully) not to cry.
Public restaurant, mind you.
Ethan and my sister's son, Cooper are about four weeks apart in age, and they only see each other maybe twice a year. They live in Georgia, so it was hard even when we were in Illinois. But I had no idea how torn up my son was over the prospect of not seeing them this year.
(Someone must teach my son how to smile for photos.)
Because my sister's family wasn't making the trip. And we were.
What Ethan didn't know, and what I couldn't tell him,was that a few days earlier I'd gotten a call from my dad. It went like this:
Dad: So, you know Carrie's coming for Christmas, right?"
Me: long pause.
Dad: You already knew that, right?
Me: Um. (confusion in voice) No. Did you just totally ruin the surprise?
Dad: (mumbles incoherent sentences as he tries to back-pedal. A beat. Then the distinct impression that he's given up) Well she never told me not to tell YOU!
I still laugh when I think about the fact that Carrie told our DAD of all people. We later found out he told at least eight other people. That he could remember.
Anyway, sitting in the restaurant, I was *thisclose* to spilling the surprise all over the table just to stop the tears. Because when this boy cries, it just breaks my heart. But I held it in and talked him off the ledge, knowing my lies would be worth it in the end.
So, Christmas Eve, during the day, I got a text from Carrie that they'd just pulled in...
And I couldn't WAIT to see Ethan's face. (My mom's too because she had NO idea...)
I went outside to snag the baby and Cooper snuck in the kitchen, alone. So, my mom turned around and there he was...and mass crazy chaos ensued. But these two guys...
...who are very "cool" and "nonchalant" the entire rest of the visit...
...couldn't hide their happiness that they got to spend another Christmas together.
I could cry just looking at it because I knew how happy Ethan was going to be. And he was. I LOVE when a surprise works out...in spite of my dad's best efforts to spoil it.
The rest of us were pretty thrilled too...because we had the makings of a week-long slumber party, and it ended up being exactly what we all needed.
I hope your Christmas was Merry and Bright.
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