Vinnie’s Mom and Dad sit on the sofa each with a glass of wine staring at the glowing logs in fireplace. Christmas carols softly play in the background. The Christmas tree lights dimly light the living room.
Vinnie’s mom squeezes Vinnie’s dad’s hand, “We made it, dear. There were moments today when I wasn’t sure I could hold it together.”
Vinnie’s dad raises his glass toward Vinnie’s mom, “To you, dear. The house is beautiful. How does the poem go, ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse . . .’
“Mom! Dad! Mom! Dad!”
“You spoke too soon, dear. Will you check on Vinnie and see what’s bothering him. I don’t think I handle it,” says Vinnie’s Mom.
“Never mind, Mom, Dad. I’ve got it,” Vinnie hollers from his bedroom.
“Dear, please check on Vinnie. Whenever he says, ‘I’ve got it,’ something dreadful happens,” whispers Vinnie’s mom resting her head against Vinnie’s dad shoulder.
“What could he be up to? I don’t want him to spoil to the moment. The Christmas lights, the Christmas music, the crackling of the wood in the fireplace, it’s all so good,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Yah,” sighs Vinnie’s mom.
A moment later, Vinnie races in the living room, Dexter follows hoping food is at the end of this game. Vinnie’s carrying the fire extinguisher. He comes to a sliding halt in front of the fireplace.
“No, Vinnie, no,” hollers his mom.
“Vinnie, don’t spray the extinguisher,” hollers his dad.
Vinnie pulls the fire extinguisher trigger and a white cloud fills the fireplace. The Christmas tree lights go out. The kitchen lights go out. Vinnie yells, “I can’t see. Am I going blind?”
Vinnie’s dad scoops Vinnie up, “Let go of the fire extinguisher, Vinnie. You’re okay.”
“Dad, Dad, Dad fix the electricity for Santa. He’ll be here any minute. I’ve been tracking him on my tablet. He just left Peru and is heading toward toward Panama. Santa moves fast, Dad.”
“Who’s going to clean up this mess?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“I’ve got it,” says Vinnie’s dad immediately regretting his choice of words.
Vinnie’s dad set Vinnie on the sofa next to his mom. Vinnie’s mom pulls a soft blanket around Vinnie. She says, “Vinnie, didn’t you know those are electric logs? Dad got them at the after Christmas sales last Christmas.”
“I forgot, Mom. I was afraid Santa was going to come down the chimney and get burned up in the fire. I had to protect Santa. You understand, Mom. Right, Mom?”
Vinnie’s mom rubs Vinnie’s head, “I understand my first responder. You did what you thought was the right thing to do. The lights are back on. I think Dad fixed it.”
“Boy, Mom. When I grow up I want to be just like Dad,” says Vinnie admiringly.
“I think you already are like, Dad,” says Vinnie’s mom. Then she silently utters, “Dear Lord, why oh why?”
Vinnie’s dad has a sponge mop in hand, he stops cleaning and comes over to the sofa. “I heard Mom call you her first responder. Give me a high five and fist bump my man. Come and help me finish. You know what Santa told me in his email?”
“What, Dad, what?”
“Santa said he’s not going to stop until we are all asleep. Make sure the cookies are far enough away from the edge of the table so Dexter won’t get them. The same with the glass of milk. Now, off to bed.”
“I’m on it, Dad. Can I give Dexter a cookie after I pick out all the chocolate chips.
“No,” says Vinnie’s mom.
“It’s Christmas Eve, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.
“Okay, but only one,” says Vinnie’s mom.
A minute later from the kitchen, “One cookie for Santa, one for you Dexter, and one for me. If you give me your chocolate chips, I’ll give you my cookie, Dexter.”
Vinnie’s mom takes a deep sigh and says to Vinnie’s dad, “What’s he going to be like when he’s a teenager?”