That day, when Troy got home, I asked him if I could have my present. "I'm going just crazy!" I explained. He told me, in no uncertain terms, to stop asking and leave it alone.
"I got you a cow, anyway," he said.
Thinking this was my chance to manipulate the situation, I quickly lied, "You said it was chickens!"
He pulled his work shirt off and threw a t-shirt on, "Oh. Well, you know." But Garrett was standing in the room and his eyes grew round as saucers.
"Mommy!" he hissed. Then he climbed up onto the bed where I sat and whispered, "You can't tell Daddy what we talked about."
Holy heck. It's confirmed. My husband bought me chickens for Christmas and I just simply don't understand why.
On Christmas Eve, Troy came home from work. Garrett heard him in the garage and threw the door open. I was hot on Garrett's heals and Troy came lunging through the door at me. "Go upstairs!" he commanded. "Did you see? Did you see your present sitting in the middle of the garage just then?"
"No," I said because, truly, I hadn't. "Is it alive? Is it chickens? Are my chickens sitting in the middle of the garage right now?"
He herded me up the stairs. Several minutes later he came up.
"Are there living things wandering around my house right now?" I asked him. "I want my present now. I'm going crazy with all the not knowing."
"You cannot have your present right now. You will wait until tomorrow like everyone else."
We went to our Christmas Eve service. We came home and opened presents from Troy's side of the family. We went to bed. We got up. We opened stockings. We had a big breakfast. We got dressed. And all the while I was getting more and more anxious as I anticipated feigning excitement over being given the gift of poultry. We all opened all of our presents from each other. My last one was a tiny box, not fit for a chicken.
I opened it to find a note.
It directed me to another note. And another.
With each note I grew increasingly more anxious, expecting to find a feathery friend at the next turn. Eventually, I was directed to the bathroom in the basement. I opened the door and walked toward the shower. A knot twisted in the pit of my stomach. My beloved son had already given it away with his big eyes and his curled smile and his hushed whispers and subtle nods. I pulled back the curtain, prepared to meet my new pets for the very first time.
There, inside the shower, was my very own bicycle.
I'd mentioned months ago that I wanted one.
I sighed enormous relief. And then I told my husband all the details of that little weasel's lies. I told him of my interrogations. I told him of the information that Garrett had woven into his tapestry of deceit. I told him that I knew I was missing pieces because my mom had used the word "awesome" and Troy had been so proud when he'd returned from their adventure that I knew he thought it was a good gift. And how could he buy me chickens and be so wrong about something I would want for Christmas?
I think my husband fist bumped my son.
And then I asked him how, exactly, he could afford a bike since that alone would have exceeded our limit.
"Because!" Garrett squealed. "Someone has already been riding it!"
My husband got a steal on a barely used bike. So they had met someone (but not at Wheeler Farm) and they had made a business transaction (but not with someone they knew) and Troy had given Garrett only the roughest of scripts to use when his mother interrogated him because he knows me that well.
The fine, upstanding, Christian mama in me is really kind of worried about the fact that my kid can lie so convincingly that I was almost 100% sure I was getting chickens for Christmas. But, I have to admit, the performer in me is beaming with pride.
Well played, young son and his father. Well played.