Christmas is just two days away and I’m headed to Saint Louis to spend some quality time with my favorite people, my family. There will be dinners, and decorating, and laughing, and baking. We have so much to be thankful for this year, with a beautiful baby boy whose bright and adventurous personality is starting to shine and another on the way (I think it’s a girl!), due in May.
As a child, Christmas was incredibly magical. My mom, who goes out of her way to make everything over-the-top pretty, over-the-top exciting, and over-the-top special, always put a great deal of time and effort into the weeks leading up to the holiday and Christmas Eve and day. My great-aunts and cousins used to travel from Texas to spend a week or two at our home; the house was warm from constantly burning fires, chaotic with laughter and loud voices, and smelled like pumpkin bread and peanut brittle. Belly laughs and high pitched screeches came from the kitchen late in the evenings as my dad teased my grandmother and her sisters, squealing, “Ohhhh Bobbbyyyy!”, with their Texas drawls. The ladies stayed up late playing cards and were awake early working away in the kitchen. On Christmas Eve my sister and I always slept together; excited as we went to bed, talking about Santa and the gifts we so dearly hoped would arrive late that evening, wondering if we’d hear reindeer hooves and Santa’s sleigh on the roof outside my window. Christmas morning started early, so early that my parents eventually put a “no earlier than 6:00am” start time in place. My sister and I would wake up while the house was still and dark, slowly tip-toe out of my bedroom, peeking over the balcony, trying to make out the shapes of what Santa had left us below. We’d wake our parents and we’d all head down the stairs, slowly, whispering about what we could see, “A BARBIE house”…”Lyndsayyyy, look, COLORING books”….”Brittany, woahhhh, a My Little Pony SLEEPING bag!”. It was always just the four of us during those wee morning hours; so dark, so quiet, and so special before the others awoke and the craziness of Christmas Day began.
As time passed, my cousins got married and my great aunts started staying in Texas to spend the holidays with their children and grandchildren and eventually our holiday gatherings went down in scale, dramatically. Christmas is always a happy time, because it’s so fun for our family to be together, but the holiday can be a little lackluster without children, the magic lost somewhere between holiday hangovers and last minute gift cards. Luckily, I didn’t realize this until we had a new little baby who took up a great, big space in our world.
This year, Brooks is a year and a half and as lovable, charming, and engaging as can be. He ohhhhs and ahhhhs and points his little finger at every Santa Clause, Nutcracker, and Christmas light in sight. Tomorrow night I’ll be up late wrapping presents and setting up his Santa gifts, just as my parents and great aunts did for me years ago. The magic is back in Christmas, gift cards are out, and I get to be on the other side of the fun which turns out, is the most fun of all. Merry Christmas to you and your family and if there are no children, there’s always ornate decorations, over-the-top gifts, and mulled wine, lots of it. Hope you’ve been good, boys and girls.