We had such high expectations, too. I'm a hopeless romantic, especially when it comes to things like Baby's First Christmas. We were all watching, waiting for that perfect "Hallmark moment" when Sol would rip open the paper and shriek with excitement as the big ol' bright toy inside was revealed. We were waiting for cousin Eloise to revel in the excitement of the occasion and squeal her own little wonderful squeal as Sol roared with omg-i-can't-believe-this-is-happening. But alas, Sol was tired and Eloise was hungry. And then Sol was hungry and Eloise was tired. And then Sol was tired and Eloise was... you get the picture. These two babes were so not into opening gifts, so "magical present time" turned into "you take Sol while I open her gifts and then I'll take her back and I guess that's just a big fat loss for Baby's First Christmas." Oh well. I think it meant more to me than it did to her anyway.
We drove home last night on snowy, blowy, icy roads. That means a 2.5-hr trip morphed into an almost 4-hr trip, compliments of Mother Nature herself. And given my precious cargo, I made a point of driving as s-l-o-w-l-y as possible. (That's right, folks. I'm gonna go 25mph the whole way. You can either accept it or pass me. Make your choice.) We made it home, safe and sound, and Mama Mel unpacked the contents of her car while Sol (for once) sat quietly in her carseat. And with each load of bags/boxes I toted up the sidewalk into the house, some bag would be knocking against my knee, creating a chorus of Sol's new toys going off: "Red! Rojo! Elephant! [elephant roar]! Red! Rojo! Eleph--! [elephant roar]!" Nothing like disturbing the Christmas peace in our quiet little neighborhood.
Sol and I spent a wonderful evening by the Christmas tree, complete with a visit from a good friend. Sol wasn't awake for long; she snuggled in my arms with her little pink bunny, my heart nearly melting and pouring out of my chest as I kissed my Christmas baby goodnight and lay her down in her crib. She buried her head in the mattress (as she always does), stuck her little behind up in the air, and before long she was out.
This morning I awoke bright and early, around 6am, and came downstairs to unpack some of the bags and boxes that remained from last night. [That plan dissolved pretty quickly; hey... it's Christmas.] Donning comfy clothes and slippers, I brewed some holiday blend coffee, popped in White Christmas, and perched myself on the couch next to the soft glow of the Christmas tree. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are crooning to me about sisters sticking together under all kinds of weather, and I can hear Sol jabbering upstairs as she begins to wake up from her Christmas Eve slumber. We have one present to open this morning (Aunt Leah, Sol will be opening your gift today!), and then we're going to enjoy our first Christmas as a little family. I keep thinking back to last Christmas, the stillness, the quiet, and I know things will never be the same from here on out.
Sol's existence has changed things so much, and I almost can't believe that we've spent nearly 11 months together. Someone this weekend reminded me what a tremendous decision it was to bring her into the world, and that I should be proud of it. He reminded me that doing the right thing usually takes more time, costs more money, and is generally more difficult, but in the end it's worth it. And he's so right. Even though my little sunshine sucks the time, money, and energy right out of my life, I couldn't be happier to spend it with her. There's a small part of me that wonders whether there's someone, somewhere, who's especially tormented this morning by wishing he had the stones to suck it up and see his daughter on her very first Christmas (Alex, I'll take Things That Make You Say, "She's Awesome and You Suck," for 400.) But the more I think about it, the more I realize she's not his daughter. She's mine. She knows nothing more. It was me who chose to bring her into the world, and it was me who chose to raise her, to love and protect her. And this weekend I realized just how many other people adore her; countless family members and friends were fired up to love on this little ball of sunshine. To see her roaring with laughter at Uncle Rafiki, or entertaining an entire living room of Bierleins at Aunt Joleen's house, to see her snuggling with Grandpa Ken in the rocking chair, or banging on the aluminum high chair tray as Grandma CC feeds her bananas... it makes my heart go *boom*. The peace and love I feel this Christmas is the best gift I could have received. Here's wishing you the same peace, good cheer, and abundant love this holiday season. Merry Christmas!
** our Christmas card this year **