Christmas Eve

My four-year old niece and I share a bedroom at my parent’s condo over the holidays. In our bedroom, there are two skylights. On Christmas Eve, after jammies are donned, teeth are brushed, and stories are read, we lay down to go to sleep. We watch the moon rise through the skylights as we prepare to fall asleep. She whispers, “Auntie Lori, Auntie Lori, we have to fall asleep now. Santa won’t come if we’re awake.” I reassure her that she is correct and rub her back, trying to get her to calm down and fall asleep.

I am almost asleep when she pokes me. “Yes?” I ask. “We have to fall asleep. Santa won’t come if we’re awake!” Excitement radiates from her little body. “You’re right, let’s go to sleep now.” This is repeated several times before she whisper screams, “AUNTIE LORI!” I am fully alert, worried something is wrong. She points to the skylights. “AUNTIE LORI! DO YOU SEE THE REINDEER PAW UP THERE? GO TO SLEEP NOW!”

And with that, she dozes off.

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