“I’m going to start making a list so we can go caroling.”

My five year old is always making plans. And proposing activities for the family. And as he apprises me of said plans and activities, my answers vary.

Uh, yeah… let me talk to daddy.

Ummm… perhaps. Let me think about it.

Uhhhhh, sure. We might be able to make that happen.

And so on, and so forth. I pretty much never give a clear cut answer. And I almost always “need to consult with daddy”. Because I don’t want to commit us to every whim he comes up with. But I’m gonna be honest. I may not always actually be listening to his whole story. Or his plans. In fact, if he asks me while I’m cooking dinner. Or while I’m wrestling the littlest during a diaper change. Or while I’m having mommy personal time. Well. During those times, I sometimes slip up and give an answer without remembering that a reply to him is written in blood shed from my very own heart. Yes. It’s that serious.

So when this charming little visionary recently stated, “I am going to make a list for caroling.” I thought little of it. And when he then questioned something in the vein of, “Can we go caroling tonight?” I brushed it off with a response of, “Not tonight. Tomorrow night, k?”

Here’s what I thought I’d said with the answer of, “Tomorrow night, k?”…

That’s not really gonna happen.

Here’s what his 5 year old ears heard with the answer of, “Tomorrow nght, k?”

Yay! I can’t wait to go caroling! You plan it and I’ll show up.

Because the next day, he came home from school and got to work. On the wristlet, pictured above, for me to wear while we caroled.

And then, on a “set list”, which, was actually 4 pages of paper stapled together with the names of the 5 songs we’d be performing at the no-less-than-three houses we’d be caroling for.

Blerg. What’s a mom to do? I’d let my guard down and he’d caught me at the perfect moment of distraction. And so, I couldn’t renege. I’d said, plain as day apparently, “Yes! Tomorrow night!”. It was one of those karmic moments that was tugging at me saying, you tell them to listen… and you didn’t… and now you need to pay up.

So, we did it. The five of us piled into the car, complete with set list, and I reached out to a few friends to see if they were available, and we went caroling.

It was pretty hilarious. Because while I’ve been caroling before, and rather enjoy it, I’ve never been with a family of only 5… 3 being under age 5… one not even old enough to hum a tune. So the fact that we were actually making it happen was a darn near Christmas miracle, in my opinion. The oldest with his “set list”, led us through the songs. The middlest stood front and center, singing right along with the oldest. Daddy sang as he held the wee one who was staring at the recipients, likely thinking how did I end up in this family

And I, well, I was partially giggling… partially bubbling over with giddiness, singing right along.

Because I watched how seriously the five year old was taking his choir director title, looking at his papers. Telling us what was next. And I listened to the three year old sing the words, clear as day in a mama’s ears, right along. And I smiled at the hubs for taking all of it in stride and just going with the flow, like usual. As we sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing. And loudly shared Jingle Bells. And others. It made me smile as I sang the familiar tunes. That even though we were doing something a little crazy, we were all doing it together. And having a genuinely good time. Because some day, my kids probably won’t even want to be in the same room with me… but for now, we’re a caravan of carolers, 5 strong.

We sang for a couple of my best friends and they were good sports. We sang for a neighbor who, I think, may have thought we were intoxicated. Just my husband and I, of course, not the children. But we sang out loud and spread Christmas cheer… just as my five year old had hoped for.

Caroling as a family of 5 in Omaha is not something that I would have ever put on my Parenting Bucket List {Let’s be real… I’m not organized enough to have a parenting bucket list} but sometimes five year olds are put in your life to make sure you don’t let yourself get too old and boring. And to keep singing the song in our heart. In fact, maybe that’s the whole purpose of parenting. Who knows.

The next morning, he asked if we could go caroling again this year.

I heard the question.

And I listened to the question.

I thought briefly.

And I responded, “Yes indeedy. As long as you make the set list”. 

A-caroling we will go.

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Ashli Brehm

Ashli Brehm = Thirtysomething. Nebraska gal. Life blogger. Husker fan. Creative writer. Phi Mu sister. Breast cancer survivor. Boymom. Premie carrier. Happy wife. Gilmore Girls fanatic. Amos Lee listener. Coffee & La Croix drinker. Sarcasm user. Jesus follower. Slipper wearer. Funlover. Candle smeller. Yoga doer. Pinterest failer. Anne Lamott reader. Tribe member. Goodness believer. Life enthusiast. Follow me at