Christmas technically isn't over until January 8, the Epiphany, but even today, I'm asking myself, "Where did the time go?"
Christmas is one of those holidays that has been stretched out for months. The retail world, hungry for sales in a sluggish economy, has hammered Christmas shopping into our psyches since September.
Then the day after, sales are pummeled into us as a last gasp effort to separate us from our money. Oh and to pay a fourth of the price for something that we just purchased a few days before.
I had to work Christmas Eve in the morning and we sang the Vigil Mass that evening. Our Christmas morning came at 5:30 AM because my oldest son works nights and his days off do not include holidays.
My husband's brother came over and we gathered around, exchanged gifts, talked physics and Stephen Hawkings (how did that conversation start?) and ate a big breakfast. When we were done, everyone went back to bed (except me) and we went to my sister-in-law's in the late afternoon.
It's those few hours in the early morning that I treasure most. I'm the little kid in the bunch. I don't open my gifts till I've watched everyone open theirs. I anxiously wait for their reaction of what I've given them: does it fit? do you like it? do you want to exchange it? When I've heard, yes, yes and no, I gleefully open my gifts.
And then it's over. I started work at 6 AM Monday morning and worked till 2 PM. By 10 AM, I thought I was going to die. What happened to the time with my family? What happened to those precious early hours where we're talking and laughing and sitting among the heap of rubble of wrapping paper and boxes?
Admittedly, I love my "stuff." Jewelry, ebooks, clothes, you name it, I adore it, but that Christmas morning with all of us sitting together talking, laughing and opening gifts, will forever be etched in my memory. And I'll cling to it through to Epiphany.