It was December 23, or in our house the day we referred to as "Christmas Eve Eve", and every year my mother would talk of this day as her most favorite of the year. She would share the phrase in a sea of teenage eye rolls and smart ass remarks.
On and on, she would go.
"The excitement" she would say, "the anticipation all leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas day. It would all be over too soon, but today, pure anticipation".
The last minute frenzy of wrapping and baking could not damper the spirit of she who was ready to celebrate. That combined with the excitement in a house filled with three children, made today the high point of the season in her eyes.
But as a kid, I didn't get it.
Why would she say today was her favorite?
The anticipation of a day?
I remember thinking from my adolescent eyes it was all about Christmas Eve, with the overfilled mass at our Church and then meeting at my Mom mom's for dinner and presents. Oh yeah, the presents!, The only day to upstage Christmas Eve, besides my birthday was the madness of Christmas morning. Even as an teen, we still woke rather early to unwrap presents from a Santa we had long since stopped believing in after getting our yearly photograph on the stairs. Gift cards! Clothes! Money!
Why December 23, mom?
Sometime in the space between college and adulthood, it dawned on me and I got it. Only to be strengthened more with the birth of my own children.
Today is the best day of the year for all those reasons my mom had listed and so much more.
I hear it as my children whisper of the arrival of Santa down the chimney with wide eyes and firm belief.
I taste it after nibbling on a few cookies as dozen upon dozen more rotate their way through the oven.
I smell it, with each step into our living room, the Christmas tree's scent overtaking the room.
I see it with every light which seems to shine a little brighter each day closer to Christmas.
And finally I feel it with each giggle filled embrace.
Those feelings: anticipation, excitement, and joy are reaching a fever pitch today,
Now my most favorite day of the year too.