"Do you think there are presents for me?" asked Lliam breathlessly. He was standing next to the bed tapping Will on the shoulder. I rolled over with a foggy realization that he was asking if it was Christmas morning. Will explained that it's Saturday morning and Christmas is not until Tuesday. "Well maybe it really is Tuesday," Lliam speculated, as if his force of will might bend the space-time continuum. Will told Lliam he would just have to wait a few more days and Lliam went back downstairs while we drifted to sleep again.
Some unknown time unit later, I was awakened by a crinkling sound. Lliam came into the room carrying a present I had wrapped the previous night and placed under the Christmas tree. "Thank you for the present that dad gave me. I have a hypothesis about what's inside. I think that based on the shape it's a Bionicle. It sounds like a Bionicle when I shake it." I could say nothing but to reassure him that this was a sound hypothesis.
It feels like I was just having a similar conversation with my dad. One Christmas I woke up around four in the morning. I knew that I shouldn't open the presents or even go in the living room, so I dragged my green wooden desk chair into the kitchen, placed it in front of the clock, sat down and stared, counting on my latent time travel powers to kick in. After 15 minutes of this, my dad came into the kitchen for a glass of water. he knitted his brow and asked what I was doing. Somehow he managed to get me back into bed, but I didn't sleep for the rest of the morning.
Another year I had a co-conspirator in waiting. Holly and I rehearsed a show with the neighbor girls. we acted out the poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas using puppets. Our performance took place on Christmas eve for a select group of VIPs (a.k.a., our parents). We were hoping that the wrapping paper destruction process would begin henceforth, But alas we still had to wait out the entire night for the much anticipated event.
To pass the time, Holly and I sat in her room, staring at her clock. She created a tally sheet on which she wrote down each minute. Every time a minute would go by she would check it off. I can remember oscillating between her room and living room, trusting neither the clock nor the view out the front window as evidence of nightfall. I had never been more excited to go to bed.
There is no magic like the anticipation of Christmas. Although for me it is only a memory, in my son, it's alive and well.