It has only been fifteen minutes, but we cannot stand it any longer. We agree that Christopher will go wake our mother and stepfather. She responds best to him. I hear her ask what time it is and say in a voice thick with sleep, "Merry Christmas!" It is only 6:05. She says we must wait until 7:00. We know the answer, we heard it, but we still feel disappointed when Christopher comes back in to tell us. We decide to sit back on our beds amidst the wadded up, shredded wrapping paper and new toys to count and play with our treasure.
At 7:00, my mother appears at the door with her blonde hair brushed back, her glossy chapsticked lips, and a fluffy white bathrobe. She tells us she is going to start coffee and breakfast while my stepfather sets up the room. We know that it must be perfect before we can come in the room. My mother has worked hard on this, the most important day of the year for her. She likes everything to feel magical and insanely over the top. As my stepfather turns the lights on the tree and starts the train going round it, we hop up and down around the corner at the end of the bedroom hall. He shouts things like, "I wish Santa had come! Too bad there isn't anything out here!" We squeal and shout and hop some more. This is all part of the Christmas game. Santa always comes to our house, even the year my father told us that Santa wasn't real. He was mad at my mother that day, but it wasn't true!
Just when we can't stand it anymore, my mother comes out of the kitchen with Stollen, Coffee and Orange Juice and we know it is time. "Okay!," she says. "Merry Christmas!" At that, we race into the living room screaming so loudly I'm surprised neighbors never complained. It is Christmas and I am with my boys. This is the day of the year when nothing will disappoint us. We smile at each other happily and start unwrapping our gifts.