Waiting on Christmas Eve
Waking up to Elvis' "Blue Christmas"...and waiting.
Shaking the gifts, the sound an utter mystery...and waiting.
Accidentally eating a red pepper in my cashew chicken during our annual girls' lunch at the New Peking and laughing at all the funny things my aunts and mom had to say...and waiting.
Wearing something dark red and dorky to Christmas Eve Mass...and waiting.
Smiling as my grandma Mume approved my brothers' and my appearance with a nod of her head (and a hint of surprise)...and waiting.
Throwing our heads back and laughing in that shoulder shaking' silent way reserved for church, as my dad sang Adestes Fideles in his booming "opera" voice and Mume pursed her lips and said, "Well, I think he has a beautiful voice"...and waiting.
Spreading my granddad's damsum plum preserves on hot rolls at dinner while listening to Pavarotti and the Boys' Choir sing Ave Maria...and waiting.
Opening gifts from under this funny little tree at my grandparent's house--which was more like a plastic bush--including a denim zipper bag (my first purse? close enough!) that I loved more than it was probably normal to love a denim zipper bag...and waiting.
Driving home past neighborhoods where the sidewalks were lit with brown paper bags, so that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph could find their way...and waiting.
Home in bed watching out my bedroom window for Santa, with Elvis' "Santa Bring My Baby Home to Me" stuck in my head, and my parents noisily working in the attic (why did they always pick Christmas Eve to reorganize the attic?)...and waiting.
Then...morning. Christmas. The waiting ends.
And begins...Not one but 365 days away this time.
J.J. is singing "Santa's coming to town."
He's asking, "Is it Christmas?"
"No, it's Christmas Eve."
"Oooohhhhh," he groaned.
If he only knew, Christmas Eve--with all its waiting--is the best thing about Christmas.