One Christmas Eve, shortly after my parents put us children to bed, we started playing upstairs in our bedrooms. My sisters and I were giggling over the silliest of things, and my brothers were wrestling with one another and jumping on their beds.
My parents must have been worn-out from all the preparation's weeks before, this most wonderful time of the year. My dad dashed upstairs to our bedroom's several times, to calm us down from all the commotion we were causing. We couldn’t get to sleep, knowing Santa Claus was coming to our house that very night. However, the many times he scolded us to be nice and get to sleep, we pressed him even more because of our excitement. We could not contain ourselves!
After he warned us several more times, he lost patience with us. His voice was grumpy and loud. He was angry! We were all frightened, and some of us started to cry. My dad was the boss in our house, and we'd even stand still (with respect) when he would simply enter the room. He was an out-spoken, passionate, and an expressive Italian father.
Well, he was so short-fused with all of us that we trembled, sobbed, and cried, that brought the spirit of Christmas to a halt! There was no more joy in our bedrooms, or in the whole house, that night.
My mother immediately awoke and took the necessary steps in getting our spirits back, by bringing joy to our world. She felt the unhappiness and heard the cries, and couldn’t sleep for a wink, to think of even one of us children going to sleep that night, and possibly not seeing the morning. She was always aware of living every day as though it was the only day we had that she never took a single day for granted. She'd have us make amends with one another (regardless of what was right or wrong) before putting our heads on the pillow for the night. And this particular night, was a special night before Christmas, that I will always remember:
Without my dad knowing, she quietly stood on the bottom of the staircase holding one of our Christmas presents in her hands, beginning with a doll. She held the doll up over her head, and whispered to us all gathered together at the top of the staircase, "this is one of your presents that will be under the Christmas tree when you wake-up in the morning!" Shortly, she came back again at the bottom of the staircase, and held up a toy truck and whispered, "this too, will be under the tree in the morning!" Our young eyes were wide open, and our mouths dropped! She then, put her finger to her lips to hush our voices, not to stir things up again. Our hearts and minds were filled with the wondrous spirit of joy - while we slept and dreamt of sugarplums dancing in our heads - on that very special night before Christmas.
Causes Catherine Nagle Supports
Westwind Foster Family Agency, Christian Children's Fund, Compassion International, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Invisible Children, Save the Children