Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Cheer

As Caitlyn's first Christmas came and went, I noticed something that I hadn't really thought about before. As a kid, Christmas was special. It was all magic and presents and sugarplums. And that's not to say that as an adult you don't have an appreciation for it, but I just now realized how bogged down I always let myself get in the stress of it all. I'm sure part of it is the fact that this was my first non-retail Christmas in a decade. That alone can ruin the holidays for anyone. But there was something else too. I was seeing it for the first time since I was a kid myself, through the eyes of a child.

I first noticed this year felt different a few weeks ago. I had come home from work and I had a little bit of shopping to do, so Caitlyn and I made our way over to Wal-Mart after I picked her up from my sister's house. Usually, I'm racing through the aisles, grabbing what I need and GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE. But I found myself strolling on that particular night. I found that I was picking up a toy and holding it up and seeing if it made Caitlyn giggle. I was in no rush to finish my shopping, I was enjoying it.

As I pushed the shopping cart out to my car after we finished up, I looked up to the sky and noticed it had started to snow. Not even that it had started snowing recently, but that I was seeing the very first flakes fall from the sky. At first I wasn't even sure it was snow, because I only saw one flake, but then there was another and another. By the time I loaded up the car it was full fledged flurrying for the first time that I had seen this year.

I remember stopping in the parking lot, looking up at the sky and the snow and looking down at my precious daughter and feeling like I just witnessed something magical. Just after I paused to look, a little boy and girl had gotten out of their car and I heard the little girl shout with pure joy in her voice "IT'S SNOWING!", and I could remember what it felt like to be a kid at Christmas. I could picture Caitlyn in a few years, excitedly waiting for the first snow of the season. It was fantastic.

Our actual holiday was exactly what I was hoping for. I had been a little concerned, because Rodolfo can be a little bit of a scrooge around the holidays, but when the day actually came, he had that moment of clarity when he realized this was his baby's first Christmas and he'd better not screw it up.

Christmas Eve was spent with his family, as it usually is. Both of our families had a bit of a baby boom this year, so Caitlyn wasn't the only child celebrating her first Christmas in either family. By the time all the guests arrived at Rodolfo's sister's house, the gifts were literally spilling out of her tiny living room. It was quite a sight.

Caitlyn hadn't been feeling great earlier that day and she fussed up a storm and refused to sleep as I wrapped the last of the presents and baked Christmas cookies. So I was at least a little disappointed when she conked out at 9:30pm because I was absolutely certain she was down for the night and would miss the festivities. When midnight rolled around, everyone kissed and hugged and toasted to Christmas. Rodolfo and I snuck away for a moment to kiss our baby girl and wish her a Merry Christmas despite her being in a deep sleep. We walked in the room where she was sleeping and a funny thing happened. She opened her eyes and smiled at me. It was perfect timing. It was as if she knew it was Christmas and she shouldn't miss it. It's especially funny because I had checked on her several times that night and not once did she even stir from her sleep. But it was officially Christmas day, and she woke up at just the right time to join the party, open her presents and bring me the perfect beginning to my Christmas.

Christmas day was spent with my family. When we arrived at my mother's house, it truly felt like Christmas to me. There were the stocking she used every year (with a new stocking for Caitlyn of course), the tree with all the ornaments me and my siblings made at school every year and the warmth and obvious joy that my mother gets from her grandchildren. And there were the presents. Oh so many presents. Her family room was covered, end to end, in toys. Caitlyn opened her presents and played with her toys. We ate cookies, relaxed and basked in the joy of a holiday that I haven't been able to truly appreciate in so long. It was all so very perfect.


Mother Knows Best Reviews said...

I love that she just knew that it was Christmas, and what the best gift would be for Mommy!

I am so glad you had such a wonderful Christmas!