Dear Em,This Christmas season felt a little bit crazier to me than years past. While you & I rocked our Christmas shopping & crafting quickly with plenty of time to spare, we were hit with a few speed bumps. In the middle of special moments with our family & friends, sometimes it was hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that it was Christmas. My mind was always thinking ahead to the next thing. I was trying make sure my car was fixed (btw, over a month later, it's still being worked on...sigh), fit in appointments with an electrician, squeeze in an appointment with your pediatrician & a rounds of antibiotics, & still find time to pack. I felt like the whole month of December was about trying to squeeze more in.
It taught me an incredible lesson. Silly little things are going to happen during the holidays & life in general. It's up to me to be mindful of what's important. It's up to me to be in the moment. It's up to me to remember the true reasons for the season.
Perhaps I could practice being a little more like you. The December craziness & your most recent ear infection didn't stop you from finding joy around every corner. We hosted our friends in our PJs. You were thrilled to share gifts & play games with your very best friend. In your tired & feverish state, you sobbed when it was time to say goodbye.
Your fever had just begun when we celebrated Christmas with Daddy's family. You had been cranky & clingy the night before. I knew you were coming down with something, & sure enough you woke up with a high fever. We ditched your Christmas dress in favor of soft & comfy PJs, but you didn't let an ear infection or 102 fever stop you from celebrating.
Aunt Andrea had flown in for the weekend, & we skyped with Uncle Lowell. You smiled from ear to ear as you passed out everyone's Christmas gifts, like an adorable little elf. You helped us all unwrap our gifts, & there was no shortage of "ooohing & awwwwing" from you. You shared special moments with each of us, even taking a moment to dance to Taylor Swift with Uncle Lowell. You radiated joy & love throughout the night.
We celebrated our Christmas the day before we left for our two week trip to North Carolina. Although it wasn't actually Christmas Eve (& we had an electrician over our house to try to figure out why we had lost power in half our house), we still fit in our Christmas Eve traditions of baking (store bought this time) cookies to leave for Santa, unwrapping our Christmas PJs, & reading Christmas books before bed.
When you woke up Christmas morning, you came and snuggled in our bed. We watched a few Christmas cartoons before heading downstairs. You were thrilled to find matching Bitty Baby outfits from Santa underneath the Christmas Tree. "AHHHHH! OH MY GOSH! Santa you are the BEST! This is the best Christmas ever," you proclaimed as you bubbled with excitement. You tried all the outfits on while Daddy made us breakfast.
Daddy's favorite way to do Christmas is to rip open all the presents, unveiling all of the surprises in one wonderful moment. I prefer a slower approach, opening one gift at a time & enjoying it before going on to the next. We found a place somewhere in the middle & had finished opening gifts by early afternoon. Afterwards, we watched movies & played games & baked the cookies from scratch that we hadn't had time to bake the night before.
You tucked your Bitty Baby into bed that night before we tucked you into bed. This would typically be the time that Daddy & I would sit with glasses of wine by the fireplace, reminsicing the precious moments of the day. Instead, I was packing & getting ready for our next Christmas adventure.
I woke up on Christmas morning in North Carolina, excited that my whole family was under one roof. It had been a year since we were all together at the same time, & it was such a wonderful gift to be together for Christmas. We all got up slowly, & Daddy was wowed by the fact that you weren't anxious to open gifts. You were content to be in the center of Nonnie & Papi & Aunts & Uncles.
When we all sat together in the family room, you again handed out all the gifts. We each took turns opening presents. Rather than just tearing into one & another, you excitedly took the time to admire each one of your gifts & give thank you hugs. I proudly smiled at the gratitude you showed with each present you unwrapped.
After all the gifts were open, I felt like I could finally let go & relax (I read three books while in North Carolina, & it was amazing). We all did. Each of us played with a game or read a book. You reveled being surrounded with so many playmates. It was so nice to spend the day just enjoying being together as a family.
The holiday season has come & gone, but it's left me with a lasting impression. It's left me with the goals of being more mindful & present & grateful, even when life throws curveballs our way. It's left me with the hope that this year I can choose to see the good rather than focus on the crazy. Just like you this past Christmas season, I will choose joy.
I love you so,