Nearly every morning of the year Mom would be the one waking me up, with the exception of Christmas. It seems kids just don’t get much sleep with the anticipation of stockings and presents. In the wee hours of the morning we had to stay in bed giddy with excitement for as long as we could stand it before going to wake up our parents. I don’t recall who of the three siblings would have the courage to jump out of bed first, though, as soon as one set of footprints hit the floor the others would follow quickly.
We’d preview the fireplace where the stockings were hung to run downstairs to wake Mom and Dad. Both sluggishly bundled in terry clothe robes as we’d hurry them back to the living room. Christmas morning always started with the stockings and the aroma of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven.
Christmas morning of 1987 was no different. The three of us gathered around the intricately carved coffee table eager to pour out the contents of our stockings. The suspense building as we waited for them to be removed from the fireplace and set into our three, five and seven year old hands. At last it seemed Christmas had begun when we were in possession of these lovingly hand-made felt stockings and my full attention was on the trinkets and treats inside. I hadn’t been paying attention to my parents seated behind me until I had touched every item and spied all of what my brother and sister had gotten.
When I did notice my parents it was when my mom was holding a simple plastic Easter egg. Looking back it makes sense because my dad never learned how to wrap a present, I suppose he reached for the first container he could find to place this gift. My mom burst into tears when she cracked the egg open. What kind of rotten egg is this? I wondered as I jumped up to console her and ask what was wrong.
“Happy tears,” she reassured, “These are happy tears.”
Although I was too young to read and I never really learned what specifically was written inside the silly Easter egg, that Christmas Dad gave Mom a vacation to England and Scotland. The holiday egg was the moment I learned tears are not just for when we are sad, they are for when we are really happy too.