Being it is only TLW (The Little Woman) and me left in the house, life has changed, indeed. The morning after Christmas is not what it used to be, no more wrappings flooding the floor, no more toys scattered about and it is safe to walk about with bare feet.
It seems like we moved to another house, quiet and almost deserted except for TLW. If I remember correctly, this is what it was before we had children. Our first Christmas in our little mice infested apartment was a simple tree with very little to spend on each other. TLW was 6 months pregnant and I was just starting out in my career, so money was tight.
The year was 1971, and life was exciting. By 1972 we would have our first child, I would become an Uncle for the second time and I got a great case of gout to boot.
It seemed my company, a New York City advertising agency was doing some direct mail promotional materials for Lufthansa, the German Airline which required my designing abilities for 19 straight days, including Saturdays and Sundays. Standing on the platform of the Hunter’s Point Avenue subway station one Sunday, I noticed the top of my foot had blown up. A number of reasons were advanced as to why from doctor, wife, relatives and friends including co-workers. It was the rich man’s disease, it was the King’s disease it was because I was standing on a cold subway platform too long, and of course, too much rich food.
But every night when I returned home, there was an aura of neatness and order, in other words, no children yet.
Then when my daughter arrived, the trouble started. It usually began after a few minutes past midnight, when she would awaken and start crying, waking the feeding mother and the terribly bad sleeper, her new Daddy. Somehow that first year after her birth the bags under my eyes and the want to sleep, we had another child almost to the day!
If I thought last year was bad, now we had two little babies waking each other up by crying, and making for a very unhappy mommy, who would on occasion say ever so sweetly: “JOE! GET UP HERE AND HELP ME WITH THESE TWO KIDS… NOW!!! It was akin to living in a firehouse when the alarm goes off and they slide down the pole!
So, when Christmas arrived, a whole new tradition was created just for the two little siblings that Daddy and Mommy had to create, it was called: Kill Daddy if possible, but wait until he is done putting together my toys! It seems that every Christmas Eve we went to my parent’s home for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner of the 7 fish, with too much wine. Driving home we would see a jet in the mid-night sky and tell my kids the red lights were Santa Clause who was near, so they better get right to sleep or he would not come! As we arrived about 12:00 AM, TLW would put the over tired children to bed and I was left in the living room under the tree, assembling bicycles, fighting off the urge to fall asleep in the very spot I was assembling the toys and thinking: WHY DID I DRINK THAT MUCH WINE, I CAN’T STAY AWAKE!
But the nest morning things heated up, Mamma had made walnut bread that she toasted while I watched the kids destroy all the wrapping for the presents, playing with them as soon as they opened them, making it look like a war zone.
Life was beautiful!