My best Christmas presents arrive today

We all remember how eagerly we looked forward to Christmas as kids. Though our enthusiasm and fervor may diminish over the years, it often is because the focus has changed. As we got older, we anticipated Christmas break as much if not more than gifts. As we became parents, we thrived on the infectious excitement of our kids.

This year, though, I’m kind of back to the childhood fervor level. And it’s not specifically for Christmas itself; it’s for today.

Tonight all three daughters are scheduled to get home. Now having all three kids around for Christmas isn’t really that big a deal in and of itself because it’s happened every year. This year, though, is the first all three have been off to college. And, of course, all three are in different states (Missouri, Nebraska, Massachusetts). This Thanksgiving was the first in which not all three were home. This will be the first time the youngest has been home in more than three months.

So, while my wife and I have been coping with “empty nest” syndrome (and figuring out we still like each other after 24 years of focusing on our kids), the nest will be full again tonight. It’s a day I’ve been counting down to for a while and the forthcoming boisterous activity will be like music. The only creatures that may be more excited tonight are the dogs — but they don’t get to relish the anticipation.

I hope you all get what’s on your Christmas list. Mine arrives tonight.

The father of a daughter … is nothing but a high-class hostage. …when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, “Daddy, I need to ask you something,” he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan.

Garrison Keillor, The Book of Guys

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