Christmas Caroling

A few months ago, my husband told the younger two kids that Santa would bring them a real dog if they started using the potty. A switch flipped in the youngest’s head and he has been diaper free – except for nap and bedtime – ever since. Ellie is still working on it, but is making big progress.

When we got home from school this past Friday, there was a wrapped box under the tree. The accompanying note said that this gift was too fragile to ride on his sleigh on Christmas Eve, so Santa had delivered it early. Otis Outlaw Honaker is the newest member of our family and fits right in with the pandemonium. And, we now have another living being to potty train.

The kids love him – really hard, sometimes – and he loves the kids. Ellie is teaching him to dance. August is determined to sneak him into his bed to snuggle every chance he gets. Jack has taken over the more important responsibilities of feeding, education and exercise. Otis, who the veterinarian magically determined was born on October 4, is still not sleeping through the night, so neither are the rest of us.

The arctic bomb that hit so much of the U.S. yesterday made its way to Little Rock in the afternoon. I had spent all morning running errands doing last-minute preparations for Christmas and the impending inclement winter weather.

The new puppy refused to go out to the yard to potty in below freezing temperature and blowing snow. The kids, on their first day of Christmas break, were predictably bouncing off the walls. By dinnertime, I had had enough.

I poured a glass of wine and told my husband I was sneaking off to soak in the bathtub and read. I had only been in there about three minutes, when I heard a joyful noise that I couldn’t ignore. Ben had a guitar and was singing Christmas carols. Gus – who, if he ever stops talking, is singing – was backup. “Fa, la, la, la, la. La, la, la, la.”

There was so much holiday cheer that I couldn’t relax or concentrate on my book. Just as I started to get annoyed, I heard someone else – Jack – join in. Even louder, “Oh Christmas Tree, “ was really grating on my nerves. All I wanted was a few minutes of quiet, and there was nowhere to hide from this caroling.

I closed my book and was growing more aggravated. The dog started barking. Now it was “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” loud enough for the barges passing on the Arkansas River two miles away to hear.

“An a hoapppy nuuu ear!” I heard flourish at the very end. It was a new voice that had just joined in at the end, and like George Bailey, Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes.

It was that unmistakable, raspy, poorly-enunciated, mouth-full of marbles, joyful voice from my favorite little girl. The one that she has fairly recently been using to participate and assert herself to her brothers and parents, is now joining in with the chorus of her brothers and father.

I smiled as I pulled the drain and let all the warm water go. I couldn’t wait to grab my front-row seat at the concert in my living room.


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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Betty Herron says:

    What a cute puppy. Sounds like a busy, but so happy household. Have a wonderful holiday.


  2. Diane Perkins says:

    TU for sharing your beautiful journey in such a delightful “real life lives here” way👏👏 You are a wonderful inspiration & worthy “a book deal!” I hope your new puppy will continue to be a fun & interesting addition! Best CHRISTmas wishes for everything wonderful & an especially Blessed Year for 2023💕


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