‘Twas the night before vacation, when all through the house
A tired mother was pacing, like a cheese-stuffed mouse;
The laundry was stacked on the bed by the stairs,
Likely covered already with tiny cat hairs;
The children refused to get in their beds,
As questions fell out of their excitable heads;
How many times had they climbed onto Santa’s lap?
How many days could they avoid taking a nap?
When from deep in the kitchen there arose such a clatter,
We three scampered downstairs to see what was the matter.
Past the chocolate-stained sofa we ran like a flash,
And soon we came upon the source of the crash.
Their father had fallen on his, well, you know
And gave a strangled cry that called to mind a crow,
He’d tripped on a precooked ham that lay near,
He needed help up and then a cold beer,
Another bag of groceries fell from the counter like a brick,
The eggs cracked and broke so very quick.
The potatoes spilled from above like rain,
There was screaming, and moaning, and the Lord’s name taken in vain;
“Now, kids! Help your father! You won’t get bitten!
He’s not lying on the floor looking for your lost mitten!
I’ll clean the yolks that are splashed on the wall!
Looks like we’re not done with our shopping at all!”
As children so often do they just started to cry,
Tears cascading out of each little brown eye,
So the yolks hung from the wall making a slimy goo,
And the shells crunched under the sole of my shoe.
I went to help my husband but then in a poof,
I made my quite famous, quite sad type of goof.
I leaned over too far, his hand to mine was now bound,
He pulled and I fell right down onto the ground.
Now the kids laughed, they thought this was a hoot,
First dad fell and now mom has landed right by his boot!
We laid there on the floor, prostrate on our backs,
Calculating how much more was still left to pack.
The clothes – what was clean?! The presents – what could we carry?!
Our recent loss of groceries now seemed both funny and scary!
We would surely forget something, and wouldn’t you know,
That list of forgottens would probably grow;
Our idea to travel for Christmas now fell just underneath,
That idea we’d had about buying our very own sheep;
Who did we think we were, Ms. Ripa a/k/a Kelly?
We wondered as we rolled from our back to our belly.
We hoisted ourselves up and leaned against a shelf,
We took a deep breath and whispered “get hold of yourself”;
With a shake of our shoulders and a shake of our head,
We accepted that tonight we would not go to bed;
We spoke no other words, but went back to our work,
He revised our menu plan, we would do without pork,
I made suitcases and gift boxes just barely close,
I sprayed down the walls with the kitchen sink hose;
The kids went upstairs like little lambs sacrificial,
They knew their cooperation could only be beneficial
And I heard them whisper, as they tucked in for the night,
It’s Christmas, whatever happens, it will be all right!