Well, here it is, Christmas morning, and I'm in bed hiding under the covers, fearing what old Claus left this year.
There was the Christmas he brought the xBox and my children instantly transformed into zombies, no longer caroling or even communicating, except to scream, "Maaaamaaaa, tell him it's myyyyy turn now!"
And we'll never forget the time we awoke to a puppy shredding presents in the living room floor.
The Yuletide St. Nick unloaded a racetrack so complex not even elves could put it together, and the resulting tangled web of track and wadded instructions abandoned under the tree, will long live in our memories.
Of course, almost nothing tops all the times Kris Kringle has left us with roller blades but no helmets, remote control cars but no batteries, and BB guns but no ammunition.
Thus, I tremble at the possibility of what awaits us downstairs - probably a doll that poops, but no diapers. But my biggest worry is that Papa Noel, persuaded by the collective pleas in my offspring's Santa letters, brought a trampoline. Although opposed to the gift, yet having firsthand knowledge of the intense desire for a trampoline, I empathize with my children. Growing up, my older brother and I begged our parents for one, but all we got was, "You'll break your neck."
If we had only known we were asking the wrong people. Our younger siblings, learning from our mistake, went straight to the big guy himself, and, lo, they woke one crisp Dec. 25 to find a springy disc-of-death under a pecan tree in the backyard.
My children, too, have long understood that Santa is the purveyor of all things denied them by Mama and Daddy. The year they wanted a computer, they matter-of-factly told me, "Mama, we know you and Daddy won't get one for us, because computers are expensive, so we're gonna ask Santa Claus to bring it." And they asked every fat man in a red suit that they saw, and every one of those guys caved.
So this year, they fixated on a trampoline. Recent experience, however, taught me I am right to resist:
Last week, my son left our house buggy to boing on the neighbor's trampoline, but he shortly returned. "Why are you back?" I asked, looking him up and down.
"I fell in dog poop," he explained, then changed clothes and again departed.
Not much later, I caught him sneaking in the front door and racing up the stairs to his room. "What's going on?" I called after him.
"Nothing," he answered, "I just fell in poop again."
"How does that keep happening?" I questioned him.
"There's dog poop all around the trampoline."
"So watch where you're going when you climb off," I impatiently instructed.
"I wasn't getting off the trampoline," he defended himself. "I got bounced off." Hearing me suck in hard, he immediately considered the consequences of poopy pants colliding with the prospect of broken bones. On the spot, I composed an e-mail message to the North Pole, ordering an immediate hold on delivery of one trampoline. "It was an accident, Mama. Look, I'm not hurt. I'm not even scratched," he desperately insisted.
So finally, here it is, the most wonderful day of the year, and instead of visions of sugar plums, I have visions of metal bolts and rods and wrenches and pliers scattered in the grass, thrown by elves in fits of rage while trying to quietly assemble the frame for a mat-of-mayhem in the black of night in my backyard. And I'll bet that somewhere in the wings waits a diaperless pooping doll.
(Lucy Adams is a columnist, freelance writer, and author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. She lives in Thomson. Lucy invites readers to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her web site, www.IfMama.com.)