She'd mumble something about it being too early and go back to sleep.
I'd wriggle out of bed and hug my flannel PJs close to my skin. A teenage sister couldn't dampen my Christmas spirit. I'd tiptoe out into the hall and find my older brother peeking out of his room.
We'd meet somewhere in the middle and glance toward the stairs. "We should try to go down there," he'd whisper.
I'd look at the black stairway then at my parents' bedroom door and chew on my lip. "I don't know. We'd get in big trouble if they found us."
He'd take a few daring steps down, only to return back to my side and plop down next to me on the top stair, where we'd follow the family tradition of waiting for Dad to get up and lead the procession downstairs.
Minute after agonizing minute, we'd stare at Mom and Dad's closed door, as if our eyeballs could open it by sheer willpower. Eventually my sister would wake up and join us, the excitement building as we speculated about what could be waiting under the tree.
Then the moment would arrive. The big door would open and my dad would emerge. But instead of walking straight to the stairs, he'd get a little grin on his face and say, "I need to take a shower first."
We'd all sigh and slump down while we waited for him to take the longest shower in recorded history. He'd open the bathroom door and then, as if to taunt us, would draw out his razor and do a thorough shave. Didn't he know Santa went with the beard look?
Finally, he'd meander down the hall and say, "Okay kids, you ready yet?" To which we'd all roll our eyes and say, "Daaaad!"
Then he'd lead us down the stairs and we'd open our presents and revel in the joy of Christmas.
So what does that nice little tradition have to do with my life as a writer? It taught me to wait...and wait...and wait. I'm pretty sure Dad didn't know how much patience he was developing in me.
Then again, maybe he did.
How do you handle the waiting that comes with your life as a writer? Who taught you the value of patience?
*Santa picture by Akarakingdoms / FreeDigitalPhotos.net