My friend says that every Christmas, just at Christmas Eve, gives her that "easy happy thing."
I asked her what she meant by that. "OK, but first I'll tell you how I get there. There's just so much. And I'm a pretty organized person. I start pretty early getting the decorations ready. I work, so I devote the first three weekends of November to getting out the boxes, lights, decorations. Then, I get the day off before Thanksgiving, so that whole day is preparation and the morning is cooking."
"But as soon as the dishes are clean, I hit the ground running on Black Friday. I'm one of those people that stand in line. I burrow through the crowds, but it's OK."
I told her I didn't know anybody that planned their Christmas preparation that far ahead. I asked her why she got such a jump on Christmas.
"Well, my son is nineteen. He has what they call, "special needs," but to me he's "special" and he just "needs" me.
"Being a single Mom, I've got to keep to a pretty tight schedule. And that boy is the one that I wrap my schedule around. He's not the most effusive kid. He can't speak very well, doesn't move without a little help. But that boy knows when Christmas is coming. He claps every morning after the Thanksgiving Turkey is eaten. He knows what's around the corner."
My friend smiled, and said, "I've had a reason for Christmas every year. I hustle for that boy."
I told her I thought it was admirable, and that her efforts on his behalf were pretty impressive.
"I haven't told you the rest, but thank you. Anybody would do that for their child. Anyway, I get these things going, the presents wrapped each day in the evening after dinner, and set them up under the tree. Now this all happens, at least for him, right around the first day of December. And," she said, leaning in to me, "I wrap a new present every day, putting it under the tree. When I dress my boy, get him in his chair in the morning, I tell him that when I get home from work, I'll put the new present under the tree."
"Every night, when I get home, he gets so excited. I get twenty five days of this! And the present isn't much-crayons, a whistle, stuff like that-but watching him unwrap the present and holding it in his hand every day of Christmas is...." She paused a moment, and wiped her eyes, then said, "...there's just nothing like it. His excitement seems unending."
She leaned back in her chair. "That's what "easy happy" is. Just watching him. He gives me that feeling every day leading up to Christmas. Just that "aaahhh" that I get from watching his excitement."
"I'm never disappointed in this season. Not as long as my son is here. It always gives me such...well, like I said, an "easy, happy feeling."
She then pulled out her phone. "Here," she said, "this was yesterday's reaction."
I saw this young man nearly jump from his wheelchair. Speechless, but screaming with this overjoyed noise of joy, flapping his hands together as if he was about to take flight. She had to keep putting the present back on his lap, helping him unwrap each fold of the paper. Finally, when it was all opened, the joyous yelp of excitement came again, his body literally rising from his chair.
"That's why I do Christmas early. Once he calms down, that's when the "easy happy" thing comes to me. And it gives me the best sleep, the best morning, and the best tomorrow I could ever imagine."
"See why I do that now?"
Yes, I said. Absolutely.
"I'm the most blessed woman in the world."
Yes, I said. At that moment, I think she is.