But this year, we hit another sweet spot, and once again it was a magical Christmas tradition.
When the kids were small we splurged on a membership to the Children's Museum (every other year, alternated with a membership to the Indianapolis Zoo), but now that they're big, we go as volunteers, and so on this morning we spent two hours teaching kindergartners about the Mexican Christmas tradition of Las Posadas:
We had a couple of kids who weren't bored out of their minds to listen to us, but mostly we got to experience for the first time the misery of being the lame table, as kids drifted away from my enthusiastic raptures of "It's like a PARADE, Children!", and Syd temptingly shaking the tin maraca for them, in order to go spend all of their time playing the dreidel game two tables over.
The worst, though, was when I would tell the children about the pinata and Will would hold it up, and the kids would be all, "OOH, a PINATA! Can we play it?!?", and I'd be all, "No, sigh, but you can hold it. No, not like a gun, Sweetie, okay, no stomping on the pinata, there's no candy in there, please don't rip it apart with your hands, okay that's enough with the pinata, who wants to touch the tin Nativity with one finger," etc. BO-RING!!!
Anyway, some kids, I hope, came away with an understanding of Las Posadas, but most of them probably wondered for about two seconds about how Mexico gets a Christmas parade but you can't play with the pinata, and then turned their minds to dreidels.
Oh, well. Can't win them all.
Afterwards, I appear to have packed the most hipster lunch possible for us--
And then, Christmas miracle of all Christmas miracles, Will says that yes, fine, she'll go see Santa and yes, fine, I can take her picture, and I book the children to his side so fast that she doesn't have a chance to change her mind.
And so this, thank goodness, happens again, for the first time in three years:
It was just yesterday, and also four years ago, that they sat there just like this:
Once again this year, magically, both kids did all the work to earn their elf ears:
And magically, they both consented to wear them!
Who knows how long this particular Christmas magic will last? Next year may well find both kids too cool for Santa, or we may find a new, more "grown-up" Christmas tradition. But I've had this year, and I have the experience to know to treasure it, and with these big kids, I'll be equally treasuring every one of the traditions we've still got coming.
Because those traditions, when the kids are tiny you think they're forever, but to my sorrow, they are not.