It is 22 hours into Christmas Day. The cellphone is now free of Christmas well wishes, the last of the presents have been opened, the table has been cleared. There is just the twinkling of the Christmas lights.
I am savoring my quiet hour. All through the day, I had been on my toes. As they always do, the maids spent Christmas with their families. Up until today, I never really minded. There were always extra hands, after all.
Not this year, though. With half of the family not home for the holidays, and with the rest of us rendered almost immobile by two Terrible Twos, a spoiled Dachshund and a stiff neck, the better part of December 25 was one hectic day.
I thought I'd breeze through Christmas preparations for the family. I did, actually. But I was not prepared for the "others." As early as six, there were people banging on the gate, each one doing his/her take on the classic "Tia, Tio Merry Christmas!" There was a constant procession of old women with young women with children and babies in tow, braving the rains, weighed down by plastic bagfuls of Christmas loot, asking for more.
By the time the godchildren started streaming in, I was literally pooped. I had to shelve plans of baking the Christmas Day Carrot Cake. And I had to restrain myself from committing murder when someone I hadn't seen in six years dropped by, asked for a pa-Christmas, sized me up and told me that I looked "different." "Different" as in "fat."
Still and all, this year's Christmas Day is one for the books. Gianna and her cousin gushed--and eventually fought--over everything: from the stuff in their stockings to their Christmas stash; from the humongous High School Musical 2 poster to the HSM2 DVDs. At some point, they argued over who's cuter: Chad or Troy and Gabriella or Sharpay. And all through Christmas Day, they had to be reminded to be "nice" because Santa (and Chad and Troy and Gabriella and Sharpay) said so.
Gianna weaved in and out of her Terrible Twos tantrums. But she did allow Sam to ride her bike. And five minutes ago, she held my hand and whispered, ever so sweetly "I love you, Mama," as she drifted off to sleep.
Aaaawww! Give it to kids to really make Christmas feel like, well, Christmas!