Originally published in the December 2015 edition of 605 Magazine.
Any mother will tell you that nighttime is the time when her thoughts are finally free to run wild. With all work put aside until sunrise, the children sleeping, and dishwasher most likely churning, a mother can finally be alone with her thoughts. This is the golden time when ideas are born, situations of the preceding day are solved and pondered, worries are stoked and set aflame, future plans are made, and in some cases, major world problems are solved. But, there are also nights when we just fall into bed as if we’ve been shot in the rear with a tranquilizer.
Either way - whether it be through restful sleep or power activity - nighttime for mothers is something of a proverbial power hour.
And I am no exception. I am, admittedly, your extreme case of a night owl. Mornings? With the exception of a couple caffeine energy spikes, I’m practically sleep walking until mid-afternoon. But at night? Boy, oh boy, am I firing on all cylinders. And ever since I became a mother, being a night owl has really given me a leg up as nighttime is truly the only time I am efficient. If I play it right, I get more non-children related tasks done from 9 p.m. to midnight than I do during a whole week’s worth of daytime hours. I know…I’m odd. I think that’s been established.
But nighttime takes on a whole new feel around Christmastime. The already magical power hour, golden time of night becomes even more magical and golden for me. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it is the warming glow of the Christmas tree lights cutting through the dark that entrance me, or the thick anticipation of the season that makes me even more awake and energized. Or, maybe, it is just that the season is so fleeting and I want to stay up and soak it all in. Maybe it’s just all the dang sugar I helplessly consume. Whatever the case, Christmastime has me up late like a crazy insomniac.
This year, we are celebrating Christmas at my brother’s house in California. Since we won’t be here for the holiday, I minimized my house decorations and simply put up our Christmas tree. So, every night after my typical nighttime flurry of activity, I stay up late sitting next to the fully decorated tree reading, staring into space, and chatting with my fellow night owl husband. But tonight, as I write this, I looked down at the tree and realized there are no gifts. The few gifts that we did this year I sent on to California. So, we have no gifts under our tree. And I have to tell you, I realized how an empty tree is such a beautiful sight.
Because this season was never about what we put under the tree. It was never about what we put in our stockings or send on as gift cards. It was truly and simply about the gift of a life. A life that can be filled with joy and hope when sometimes it might feel like there is no joy and hope left. That is what is so magical and supernatural about this season and the reason I want to stay up even later into the night to enjoy it; this season is quite literally the gift of joy to the world.
So, many, many, many blessings to you, Dear Reader, this season and those that follow. And may you embrace and enjoy all this joyful life has to offer and stay up obnoxiously late doing so!