I almost had to file this one under “well, that was a bad idea”.
I am a huge fan of Christmas lights and music, and Howie has definitely inherited my love for holiday decorations. Two years ago, when it was a balmy 70 degrees outside during Christmas week, we took a walk down our street to see the lights on our neighbors’ houses. And last year, when it was ridiculously cold outside (yes, we live in New England), he and I spent hours in front of YouTube watching the lights on a house in Texas dance to the TransSiberian Orchestra.
So this year, when I heard that there was a huge Christmas festival of lights display at a farmhouse a few towns over, I knew we had to go. The owner of the house won a contest from The Today Show a few years back, so I figured it had to be good.
Like I usually do, I planned the whole night out perfectly in my head. We’d eat dinner early, drive the 30 minutes in the car, and get there just as he opens the gates at 6pm.
I am really good at planning things out in my head.
We left on time but hit a detour about 10 minutes from the farmhouse. We later found out the police set up the detour to keep traffic flowing in one direction towards the light display. We turned the street corner at 6:09pm…
…and stopped. Dead stop.
A traffic jam that I have only seen in my old commuting days into Boston. Stop and barely go.
About 10 minutes into the ride (which translated into moving about 50 feet), Howie started kicking my seat and saying he wanted to go home. I looked at Tim and thought we were doomed. There was no way to turn around easily. The kicking continued until I realized that what he really needed to do was pee. Thankfully I had a few of Lewis’ diapers in the car, and breaking about a hundred traffic laws, I unbuckled Howie from his seat and had him use the diaper, all the while reminding him that it is “very dangerous to unbuckle and stand up in a semi-moving car!”
Slowly we chugged along.
All I can say is, thank goodness for the DVD player in the car. I will never ever live without one again.
After about 5 Curious George episodes, we were finally at the gate. For those of you who don’t watch Curious George, that translates into an hour and 15 minutes. On one street. One mile total traveled.
But for the kids, it was worth it. They marveled at the lights along the fence and the music coming from the speakers. They watched the train drive in circles past our car. I saw their eyes widen when we pulled up next to Santa and he shouted “Merry Christmas!”. Because for these Jewish kids, that’s the closest they’ve ever been to jolly old Saint Nick. On the ride home, they talked about their favorite part of the light display, and the conversation continued in the tub later on and at bedtime.
The next morning, everyone slept until 7:30am. Straight through the night. Giving me the best gift of the holiday season: my first seven hours of continuous sleep in almost five years.
For those of you who celebrate it, have a very Merry Christmas weekend. And for those of you who don’t, feel free to join us for our traditional Christmas eve dinner: Tim’s homemade vegetable sushi.
“And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear” – Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon