Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blessings of Christmas

For those of you who know our family, you may remember that the last few years have been a bit rough. Needless to say, Christmas, as a result suffered greatly.

Then last year, to add insult to injury we moved cross-country and lived in a rather small apartment, which meant a small tree and limited decorations (what decor I could find that we had packed, anyway!).

To me, this was just miserable. I adore holidays - any cause to celebrate should be thusly celebrated, and Christmas tops the list. I love the lights, the cheer, the food, family and friends, and now that I have children, the wonder that is Christmas. To believe in miracles, in faith, that a fat man in a red suit really will bring presents (oh the presents!) if one is good enough is pure magic. And lacking that, Christmas joy can be hard to come by. It has been hard to come by for the past few years.

This year, however, I tell everyone that we have been blessed. A great new house in a great new neighborhood, secure (for now at least) employment, happier kids, new friends, a second car - it is like a dream. And that is what the blessing has felt like so far -a dream.

For the past few weeks, however, my dream life has become reality. My hubby commented that I have been really, really happy lately (I guess I can be a real downer sometimes), and my son said if that was so, why I have been crying so much. And it is true, I cry at the drop of a hat lately, but I know why. You know the saying "I'm so happy, I could cry"? Well, I am, and I do.

I look at the happiness on the faces of my kids, how they speak to each other nicely, the joy they get from the advent calendar and the holiday movies; I see my hubby take pictures of us Christmas caroling and taking us to see the Christmas lights; I feel the joy of the holidays in my home and I know, I know deep in my heart and soul, that I am truly and undeniably blessed. I pray these blessings carry over into the new year.

I pray that you all may know the blessings I feel this moment.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It was 12 years ago today . . .

My son turns 12 today.

He is now old enough to babysit. I remember him as a little boy who, when left partially to his own defenses one morning while daddy slept, tried to dress himself. He took clothes out of his dirty laundry and put them on over his pajamas, including 3 pairs of dirty underwear.

My son turns 12 today. He is now in middle school. I remember when he was almost three and just learning his ABCs. He woke me at 5 am one morning, his ABC book clutched in one hand, three crayons clutched in the other. In his most excited voice he chanted, "ABC book, Mommy! ABCs!"

My son turns 12 today. He will receive his red/white belt in Tae Kwon Do this evening. I remember the first time he ever took a sports class. He was two years old and had a mixed sports class for 2-3 year olds taught by Coach Bob. He learned to try to shoot baskets, run laps, and run the bases of a baseball diamond, laughing at every turn.

My son turns 12 today. In four years he will be able to drive a car. I remember the little boy who was addicted to his Matchbox race cars. Every day he would line them up in the living room, congested lines of traffic across the carpet, complete with the "VROOM" sound for full effect.

My son turns 12 today. His favorite movies are the likes of X-Men and Spiderman. I remember when he first saw "Toy Story" by Disney. He got his Woody doll for Christmas that year from my sister and that doll never left his side. By the time he retired it, Woody's hair was mostly worn away, four fingers on his left had were broken off, and the push button that mimicked the pull string was gone.

My son turns 12 today. He is working on earning his merit badge for swimming. I remember the summer we scrimped and saved for a summer membership to the local pool. It was a zero depth pool complete with a small frog slide for the kiddies, and he would spend hours going up and down that little water slide, splashing the mornings away.

My son turns 12 today. Now he sleeps up in a loft bed in a room all his own. But I remember when he used to crawl into bed with us. He would either sleep at the foot of the bed like a puppy, or curl up with me, his blankie in hand. I still remember the silky feel of his hair against my cheek and his soft baby smell of shampoo and baby lotion.

My son turns 12 today, and while I am so excited to see him grow into a wonderful young man, I am grateful for the memories of the past 12 years. He may no longer be a baby, but I can still be with my baby boy whenever I need to, if only in my mind. I thank God for those 12 years, and I pray that I may be gifted with another 12 years, then another, then too many to count. I pray that the memories never end.

My son turns 12 today, and I love him more today than the day he was born, and I never thought such a thing was possible.

Happy Birthday, my baby boy.