By Cathy Conger (based on a poem on the internet by an unknown author)

T’was the night before Christmas. All through the abode

only one creature stirred, as she cleaned the commode.

The children were sleeping, at last, in their beds,

while Barbies and DVDs danced through their heads.

Her husband was snoring beside the TV,

a bicycle assembly kit propped on his knee.

So only the mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,

and she sighed to herself, “Now what could be the matter?”

With toilet bowl brush nervously clutched in her hand,

she descended the stairs where she spied the old man.

He had ashes and and snow from his head to his foot,

which he tracked `cross the rug, leaving boot prints of soot.

He jumped. “You surprised me, but I’m glad you’re awake.”

“Just look at my rug,” she said. “Give me a break!”

“But madam, I’m Santa. I come bearing gifts.”

“Look, I just want some `me-time’(and perhaps a face-lift).”

“You know. FREE TIME. I just need a few hours alone!”

“Exactly!” he chuckled, “So, I’ve made you a clone.”

“A clone?” she retorted, “Now, this I must see.

Come on, Santa. What good would a clone be to me?”

Then in walked the clone - the young mother’s twin!

Same hair-do, same eyes, same glasses, same chin.

“She will cook, she will dust, she will mop every mess.

You’ll relax. Take a break, honey. Santa knows best.”

“Fantastic!” mom cheered. “My dream has come true!”

I can shop, I can read, I can sleep a night through!”

Then from upstairs the youngest did whimper and fret.

“Mommy!  Come quickly! I’m scared and I’m wet.”

The clone rose up sweetly and called, `Coming, dear.’

“She’s amazing. Thanks, Santa!” said mom with good cheer.

The clone changed the small one and hummed her a tune.

Then the child she had blanketed in a cocoon

gazed up in her face and said, “I love you best.”

The clone smiled and whispered, “And so do the rest.”

Mom’s eyes glared. “Whoa, Santa. I’m sorry, no deal!”

That’s my child’s affection she’s trying to steal.”

“Ho, Ho, Ho, “ said wise Santa. “I believe it is clear.

Come along, clone. They only need one mother here.”

The mom kissed her youngest and tucked her in bed.

Then she turned and thanked Santa for clearing her head.

“I sometimes forget, it won’t be very long,

till they’ll all be too old for my cuddle and song.”

The grandfather clock started twelve times to chime.

Santa laughed to himself, “Ha! It works every time.

Everything here’s going to work out all right.

“Merry Christmas to moms and to all a good night.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Sometimes we need reminding of what life is all about. So stop for a moment and hug that special child, whether he or she is 6 months or 60 years, for they are the Gift that God gave us in life. What a gift to be treasured, far above any other!

May the real meaning of CHRISTMAS be with you this year.