As Christmases go, I rank this one in 2011 as one of the best.
It has been our practice since Brandon was old enough to understand the words "Santa" and "presents" that on Christmas Eve I take my pillow, toothbrush, etc. and spent the night at the kids' house. Otherwise, when the call comes Christmas morning at oh dark thirty that Brandon and Sophia are up and anxious to open their gifts, I would have to quickly get dressed and drive over in freezing temperatures. Not my favorite way to start the day, let alone Christmas Day.
Early in the evening Brandon began negotiating what time we'd get up in the morning. He started with 5:00 AM and got an emphatic NO. Then he moved to 5:30 and Bob compromised with 7:30. Brandon, 6:00; and Bob told him if he didn't stop, it'd be 9:00. So Brandon went to 6:30 and Bob, 9:30 with the added question, "You still want to do this?" I don't think the precise time was ever agreed on.
The kids were in bed at 9:30 and Bob's and Dawn's gifts went under the tree around 10:00. Santa's followed some time later. While Dawn prepared for bed, she found Brandon's watch with the alarm set for 6:00 under the armoire in her bedroom. She disarmed it and hung the watch on the tree.
I heard Brandon get up at least three times during the night, supposedly to use the bathroom. He wasn't particularly quiet, but he didn't overtly try to wake anyone. Sophia was restless, but even though she's now nine, she is afraid of Santa in the flesh and wouldn't venture from the bedroom alone. I know it was difficult for Brandon to go back to bed, because he could easily see two new bikes sitting beside the tree on trips between his room and the bathroom.
Sometime close to 6:30, Brandon couldn't stand the anticipation any longer and he knocked on Dawn's bedroom door. Sophia, who had slept on a pallet on her floor so I could have her bed, jumped up to be ready for the rush to the living room.
There were so many special gifts. Bob had wrapped his gifts for Dawn and Sophia set them on the couch beside him. The kids distributed presents to the adults while also unwrapping theirs. Occasionally Bob would give Dawn one he'd gotten for her. I knew what one of them was and I waited with the camera.
Midway through the unwrapping, Sophia, to my left, was busy opening a gift and chattering away while wearing an Angry Bird hat that Brandon had given her. On my right were Dawn and Bob, sitting on the couch. As Sophia jumped up to show Dawn a gift she'd received from Santa, Bob handed Dawn the littlest package, and as she opened it, he slid from the couch to one knee on the floor. I couldn't hear what he said because Sophia was jabbering.
Brandon looked at Sophia and asked, "You don't know what's going on, do you?" and with a puzzled look on her face, she replied, "No, not really." To whatever Bob had said, Dawn responded, "Yes!" And thus, they are now engaged!
Bob is a musician and he once made a comment to Dawn that he used to have a guitar and missed it. He now has one, a gift from Dawn.
There were special presents for Brandon and Sophia as well. In addition to the bikes Bob gave them, there was a Wii for the family and an iPod for Sophia. Nana and Pap had made a chest for each for their treasures. Sophia's even has a music box. And I got what I most wanted: a storage cabinet for the garage!
We spent the rest of the day enjoying our gifts. The Wii controls were passed around as each took a turn. Brandon, Sophia and I played word games with each other on our Apple iPods and iPad. And Dawn and Bob smiled a lot.