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It’s a chilly Christmas morning - way too early for even Leslie to be awake. She and her husband were exhausted from staying up late after their five year old monsters went to bed so they could set up the presents under the tree and eat almost all of the cookies and drink the milk they had left for Santa. Ben even cut the leafy end of a carrot and munched on it until it looked like it had been eaten by a reindeer and left it near the cookies. They were really going for the full effect here. They were also exhausted because they were giving each other their own Christmas presents, which involved a sexy Santa outfit and a ridiculous dance to Jingle Bell Rock that should have been more silly than sexy, but because it’s Leslie, she always manages a perfect balance.

 

They’re awoken by little feet on the hardwood floors and creaky doors and hushed voices.

 

“Mommy…” whispered Sonia, the eldest of the triplets by a couple minutes. Leslie kept her eyes closed. Sonia shook her mothers shoulder and tried again a little louder. “Mommy, wake up!”

 

Leslie finally opened her eyes and saw her three little monsters in their Christmas onesies all looking at her with such excitement in their eyes she couldn’t help but smile a little.

 

"What 's going on?” She asked, feigning confusion.

 

Stephen stepped closer and hopped on the bed “Mommy, it’s Christmas! We have to open the presents Santa left for us!”

 

Leslie wrapped her arm around the little boy's waist “It’s too early and Daddy’s still sleeping. Can’t we wait until the sun is up?”

 

Westley, who had been listening wordlessly to the whole thing and was maybe still a little bit asleep, yawned and said, “No Mommy, we have to go see now.” He goes around the bed and shakes his father's shoulder stronger than Sonia shook Leslie because Ben was a heavy sleeper. “Daddy! Wake up wake up wake up!”

 

The triplets were losing patience quickly and Ben and Leslie didn’t need a triplet breakdown first thing on Christmas morning.

 

Ben woke up, a little startled. “What? What’s happening?”

 

Leslie, who was now laying on her back, looked over to her husband and rubbed his bed head in an effort to help him wake up. “Daddy, we have to go down and open the presents with the kids.”

 

They had gotten used to calling each other Mommy and Daddy in front of the triplets when the kids were starting to talk and it had stuck. She gave his neck a little squeeze and looked at him with a knowing eye that indicated that she’d tried to convince the children to wait until a more acceptable hour. Ben rubbed his eyes quickly and sat down on the bed with his feet on the ground. “Do you want to go open some presents, buddy?” He asked while looking at Westley’s tired, shiny eyes.

 

All three triplets answered like the question was intended for all of them. “YEAHHH!!”

 

Leslie got up and tapped Sonia and Stephen on their backs to move them out of the room and down the stairs. Westley ran to catch up with them and they heard them running down the stairs. How could three five-year olds make so much noise even when they had socks on their feet?

 

Ben hugged her from behind and kissed her cheek. “Merry Christmas, my love.”

 

Lesie put her hands on top of his and leaned into his embrace. “Merry Christmas, handsome.”

 

They followed the kids downstairs, never losing contact with each other. They sat down behind the triplets on the floor and leaned on the sofa for support, the triplets already grabbing the boxes and shaking them, each child knowing which presents were for each of them because Santa (their mother) always wrapped the gifts with their favorite colour - purple for Sonia, yellow for Stephen, and green for Westley (because it’s the colour of broccoli).

 

Westley looked back at his parents. “Can we open them?”

 

Ben is surprised they hadn’t yet. “Of course you can!”

 

And then there’s total madness, paper being torn and boxes being open, complete with gasps, giggles and happy squeals.

 

“Mommy, look it’s a science kit!”

 

“Daddy, it’s the dinosaur puzzle I asked for!”

 

“Oh my gosh, it’s the Star Wars Lego set I saw at the shopping mall!!”

 

Sonia turned back and handed Leslie a box with red wrapping paper that she didn’t recognize. “Mommy, I think Santa left this for you.”

 

And, yes, it said “Mommy” in big letters on the front of the box. Leslie took the box and looked at her husband with wide eyes.

 

“Babe, you already gave me my many presents last night.” Of course besides all the sex, he has given her the books ‘Women Talking’ and ‘The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls’ amongst stocking stuffers. In return, Leslie had given him a 50 year anniversary edition of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (she thought it was hilarious given his nickname with Chris) and a new jacket because his windbreaker had to go. (Yes, he still wore it.)

 

Leslie unwrapped the box and opened it to see a couple of smaller jewelry boxes and an envelope inside. Ben watched her, excited to see her reaction to unboxing her new Pandora bracelet (because her other one was already full), complete with a couple charms from the new Frozen 2 collection and a beautiful pair of white gold snowflake earrings with small light blue and purple gems on them to match.

 

She went for the envelope first, opening a beautiful card with his handwriting and a gift card for her favorite office supply shop. Gift cards were impersonal, but Leslie didn’t agree with the sentiment because she got to buy all the stuff that she liked. She read the card and hugged it to her chest, being careful to not bend or ruin it.

 

Ben heard her sigh and after a bit without her moving, he looked at her. “Aren’t you going to open your presents?” He asked her, giving her shoulder a kiss.

 

Leslie rested her head on his cheek. “Yeah, in a minute… Just… Shh, just listen.”

 

They looked at their kids still opening presents but talking more calmly now that the excitement was a little lower. They basked in each other's warmth and felt each other's breathing.

 

Just listening to the love in the room.