Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

This morning I realized that none of us took any photos of the Boo opening presents. I also realized that I am not sad about that.

All three of the adults in the house were sick, or recovering from sickness, on Christmas morning. I woke up with vertigo, so it was all I could do to hang on to the walls as I shuffled to and from the couch. My mom took care of the Boo (and me) while he opened presents and Daddy slept off yet another day of The Flu That Would Not Die. Then I went back to bed when the Dramamine sent me spiraling down to La-La Land. But because I had almost literally dragged myself to the couch, I got to see the Boo open presents, which was enjoyable even with waves of nausea and a spinning head. So I don’t feel like I missed all that much.

It’s true that on occasion we like to go back through photos of past Christmases. But we do that so rarely that I’m not sure I’ll miss having photos of this particular Christmas, the particular wrapping paper and presents and reactions (and with an iPhone camera, we usually miss the best shots). And it occurs to me that relying on our memories may be just as good, or even better, in terms of conjuring the feelings we get when we look at photos. That’s what we’re after anyway, right? Recapturing those pleasurable moments of seeing and experiencing the joy of family members receiving gifts?

And here’s another bonus: Without having a phone in front of our faces, scrambling for the perfect shot, we were really there, fully present and feeling everything. Without photos to focus on, we will talk to each other, our faces reflecting the shared experience, and maybe amplifying it.

So yeah, I’m not sad about not having photos from Christmas 2017.  I may even make it a new family tradition.

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  You had your third Christmas. 

You were introduced to the idea that you can ask Santa to bring you specific things. 

You once again gave Santa a wide berth at the mall, gripping Mama’s hand tightly and saying “I don’t want to look at him, Mama.”

You wrote Santa a letter (using Mama as a scribe) for the first time. You asked for a lava lamp and a water gun. You added a “please” after Mama suggested making it a polite request. 

You had a young house guest to play with. You got on beautifully together, which made the adults very happy. You did a lot of painting with her, vying for space and smearing a glue stick over her creations. Now that she’s gone, the easel is feeling neglected. 

You were sick for about half your holiday break, so you watched more cartoons than usual, introducing your houseguest to Totoro.

You spent tons of time playing with your cousins, disappearing with them into Grammie’s basement for long stretches. 

You did a great job taking turns opening presents with your cousins – it was the first year you had to do that.

You went on the Polar Express train ride with the whole family. You rejected the hot chocolate in favor of water, but you loved the cookie. You and Mama both found the music to be shockingly loud. But Mama was even more shocked that you peeled yourself away from her to get up and dance with your cousins.

You received a Snap Circuits set, which you were instantly and intensely fascinated with. It has taken up permanent residence on the dining room table. Even two weeks later, you still ask to build a “power circuit” almost every morning. 

You received Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants (CD and DVD set). It’s currently in heavy rotation in the car and DVD player. Your favorites so far are “Meet the Elements” and “Electric Car.”

You received several Junior Legos sets, which you are surprisingly adept at putting together. 

You mentioned missing a classmate (only one, your best buddy) exactly one time. 

You were delighted and amazed that Santa came through with the gifts you requested. 

You went to the science center as a gift from your uncle – and you’ve been asking to go back ever since.

You were not excited about the idea of returning to school. 

You had your third Christmas. It was your best one yet. 

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It’s been over a week since Toyfest ’14, a/k/a Christmas, and already the memories are fading. Herewith I hope to capture at least a few.

– You asked if Santa was coming/if it was Christmas every few days for the entire month of December. You also asked where Santa was. A lot. Whenever Mama asked if you wanted to meet Santa, you said no, then you asked to go see him day after Christmas.

– You enjoyed decorating the tree, which in your world means telling Mama where to put the ornaments, and then occasionally pulling them off and leaving them somewhere after trying and failing to put them back on.

– You didn’t notice the gradual increase of gifts under the tree, but the appearance of a stuffed stocking on Christmas morning made an impression. (See cookies for Santa entry below.)

– You enjoyed making cookies with Mama, and became proficient at sifting and dumping and stirring. Rolling cookie dough balls in sugar, not so much — though you were very good at eating spoonfuls of sugar. You also loved playing with the stand mixer — it spent about a month on the floor so you could look at it, ask questions about it, attach and detach the beaters, and turn it on and off (with supervision).

– You went with Mama and Daddy to deliver plates of cookies to the neighbors. You only wanted to climb the stairs to ring the bell at one house, where twin girls live. At another house, the Chinese granny treated you to her rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” — on the harmonica.

– You enjoyed the Polish Christmas Eve tradition of oplatki — basically a giant communion wafer stamped with Christmas scenes that you break and eat with family while wishing them well in the coming year.

– You seemed skeptical about leaving a note and cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, but you gamely went along with it. We left your empty stocking next to the plate so Santa could fill it for you, and he did — with Gummi Bears, jelly beans, a tiny motorcycle, and a Caillou doll.

– You really got into opening presents this year, but we still didn’t get through all of them on Christmas. However, you also enjoyed opening the stragglers for days afterward. And still, everyone was so generous that we held a few of our gifts back for your birthday.

– You liked all your presents, but particularly enjoyed playing with your take-apart engine (from Daddy) and watching Totoro (from Grammie) on Christmas Day. As the days have gone by, you’ve been playing with everything in rotation.

– You were okay with putting away the ornaments and lights, but balked at parting with your Trans-Siberian Orchestra CD and negotiated to keep it for an extra day. Mama was not thrilled with this arrangement, but agree to it in the spirit of Christmas.

– You occasionally ask where the ornaments are, and if it’s Christmas again. Mama does her best to explain that Christmas only happens once a year.

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Oh my friends. The past few weeks have been a maelstrom of nose wiping, forehead kissing and night wakings. And I’m just talking about my husband. Ba-dum-bump.

In combination, the three of us have been sick for at least two weeks. Maybe more — it’s hard to remember. Nothing serious, just colds that have made us tired and snotty and unmotivated. In the middle of all that, we had Christmas and New Year’s (we stayed home from a party, thanks head colds!) and an expected but still very sad death in the family. Oh, and the Polar Vortex and anxiously looking out windows and wondering if the plowing company would ever show up since at least one of us might need a trip to the doctor if and when they ever opened their offices again.

All that to say I’ve missed writing, but every time I had time to do it, all I felt like doing was napping, or watching trashy TV, or cooking something more complicated than ravioli. But I’m back now, I’ve done what you’re supposed to do as a writer and sat down to just write something, anything.

In this case, it seems I’m writing about winter. Dark winter with icicle teeth and definite ideas about what you should wear and when the entire city should troop out to buy milk and bread and eggs. Or maybe illness, that unexplained, unscheduled stop that makes your baby a piteous bundle of snotty coughing and knocks everyone’s sleep schedule (almost) back to newborn days.

But hey, my Christmas flowers (above) are still going strong and a neighbor just made it up the freshly plowed communal driveway, so things are looking up.

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Every day since we put the tree up, often more than once a day, the following conversation takes place.

Boo: Moose!

Me: Yes, that’s the moose! Hi, moose!

Boo, holding out one hand: Meet!

Me: Nice to meet you, moose!

Boo: Ainge!

Me: Yes, that’s an angel. Where are the other ones?

Boo pointing to one of a dozen other tiny straw angels: Othe! Ove!

Me: Yep, there’s one over there too.

Boo: (unintelligible)

Me: Yes, that’s the squirrel! He’s eating a nut! (Here I mime eating a nut.)

Boo: Funny! Meet!

Me, shaking his hand: Nice to meet you, squirrel!

When he gets to the penguin, he never fails to mention that Daddy put it up, and that it’s up high (relatively speaking).

We’re all going to be sad to take the tree down.


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