It’s entirely possible many of you won’t remember this Christmas. There were moments in it that some day I will want to tell you about. That you will want to hear about. But we are all aware that my brain is like a sieve and since I haven’t finished a proper sentence out loud since roughly 2007, I thought maybe one of us should jot it down, just in case…
We spent the weekend at Gran and Pops’ house. They gave you thoughtful gifts and stole all my birthday ideas, so now I’m stumped. Ellen, you got a purple bike with pink streamers, which suits you perfectly.
You rode it round and round in circles in the driveway. Then you laid claim to an old digital camera and made it your own. You entertained yourself for hours with pictures and video that you took all by yourself.
Willa, you cried because you didn’t get a bike. But your very own sleeping bag was a pretty big rite of passage that you didn’t have enough sense to appreciate. Until it was nap time and you asked to sleep in the “new sleeping bag that Gran and Pops gave me.”
Finn, you got a push toy and immediately began pushing it around the room. I fought the urge to wrest it from your grasp lest you learn to walk in a single weekend. You spent the rest of the day falling behind, onto, or inside of your push toy.
You traveled better on this trip than you have in the past and we all declared you the best baby in the world for surpassing our decidedly low expectations.
No, we never spoil you at all.
And then there was the boys’ gift. Gran scored a great deal on a Playmobil pirate island for Sam, Ian, and Adam, a toy you’ve dreamed of owning. That was the nearest to tears over a gift I’ve ever seen you fellas. You leaped in the air with joy and then bounded into Gran’s lap for a heartfelt thank you. Gran beamed with pride and giggled right along with you. You spent the rest of the day locked in the sun room, putting together tiny pieces and singing pirate songs.
All six of you older kids slept in one bedroom. It took you at least an hour and a half to go to sleep each night. We’d walk in to stop the giggles and feel the steamy warmth that six wriggling bodies can produce in a small room.
You’d fuss over covers, declare the other person to be hogging the bed. You’d throw your stuffed animals in the air to see who you could hit. And inevitably, somebody had gas. But, oh, how you laughed and got into trouble and woke up entirely too early.
We spent Christmas Eve lunch with Memaw in her tiny house. She’d never met Finn before, so they stared each other down and declared one another “good.”
Mira, you tensed when we walked in the door and were greeted by three unfamiliar faces who all said, “Awwww, hey Mee-rah!” But you shook hands politely and even gave a friendly wave. You said hello to Memaw and then curled up in my lap for some reassurance. I was happy to oblige.
Later, you got brave and decided to explore the house. Memaw saw you and reached for your hand. You smiled and reached back. And I saw your daddy’s eyes get all glisteny.
Memaw led you from room to room, telling you how much she loved you and how pretty you were. She even dabbed your neck with her perfume. You smelled like sweet old lady for the rest of the day and I thought it was wonderful.
Willa, of course, got squeezed the hardest of all the children because she’s Memaw’s namesake and Memaw never thought anyone would name their baby after a “Willy Gladys” so that merits the biggest squeeze of all.
Memaw is tiny, but she squeezes like a boa constrictor and sometimes you’re not sure you’ll survive. But you do. And you are always glad to feel the strength in her frail frame, the intensity with which she loves. And you’re also glad to feel the air return to your lungs when she’s done.
We made it home late Christmas Eve, just in time to pull out the nativity set (I know – total Christmas FAIL) and put Baby Jesus in His rightful place. I made the special blueberry muffins, we sang some carols, I got a little misty-eyed, and we called it Christmas morning.
And it was lovely. I hope you remember. But if you forget, I wrote it down for you (and me).
Just in case…