Thursday, December 8, 2011

and mommy cried

I love the Christmas season. I always have.  when I was a little girl our whole family would come to our home on Christmas day. My grandparents would come over for breakfast and we would be wearing the new pajamas my parents had given us the night before as an early Christmas present. We would check out our stockings, which I later learned were put together solely by my father. He would shop for little trinkets for each of his girls- my mom, my sister, and me, and then stuff our red velvet stockings full of his shopping finds and candy. When he passed away the three of us kind of floundered that first Christmas without him. It just seemed wrong to even think about having stockings, so we left them in the decorations box, stored away, a momento of times passed. Eventually my mother stopped decorating all together, a sign that it really was my dad who pulled the family together.

I met my husband in January of 2000. So by the time Christmas rolled around we had been dating for a year. Even though we didn't marry until September of 2002 we knew that first Christmas where things were headed. I put up my mother's old tree at my apartment and my sweet husband to be insisted we buy a new angel for the top, because "every family needs their own traditions." I knew right after those words came out of his mouth that I was never going to let him go!

We have had many amazing Christmas' together. We spent one at the cabin on the lake my in laws own. The lake was icy, the house was covered in snow- it was breathtakingly beautiful. Our quiet Christmas in front of the fire, just the two of us, is one I will always remember. Our first Christmas in our little apartment in Cleveland where I made waffles for a Christmas breakfast for my sister and mom. That apartment, which we still own so I may get to live there again one day, had that beautiful old dark wood around the doors and windows and so I hung our Christmas cards around the entrance to the living room, just like my grandmother always had done at her home in Firestone Park.

Yes, I have some great Christmas memories. I also have some not so good memories, holidays where everyone else was celebrating the joy of children and I well, wasn't. Those holidays weren't so easy. Then we brought our big four and a half year old into our lives and Christmas lit up for me in a way it never had before. The video from Santa, the "Elf Yourself" video he loves so much. The visit to Santa and the hot chocolate. The Christmas parade. The lights. The presents. And the church daycare Christmas play. That first year, when my little guy wasn't quite two years old yet, only home six months, he stood up on that stage, totally confused and unsure. He shook his jingle bells like a pro though. And mommy cried. The next year he stood up there with his toddler class and sang some of the words to the song while he boogied down- the only toddler outright dancing. And mommy laughed. And cried.

Last night mommy cried again. This time I had two little ones up on that stage. My big four and a half year old, sitting with his class on the risers and wearing a sparkly halo. My tiny toddler being led out by his teacher and lifted up on the stage. He looked a little unsure and I could tell he was searching the crowd for a familiar face. He didn't sing a word of the song, but I didn't expect him to. He did, however, stay on the stage,managing not to fall off, so that was good. My big four and a half year old searched the crowd, found mommy, and signed "I love you". And mommy cried.

that's my tiny toddler on the end, in the blue sweater vest, making his Christmas play debut!

They grow up so quickly, don't they? This year my oldest son giggled with his buddies up on that stage, some sort of inside joke only the pre school set would understand. He didn't want to sit down and eat his cookies with mommy and daddy at the after show reception; he wanted to travel around the gym, talking to his friends. He even attempted to schedule a few play dates! He is so running for political office one day.

my Christmas boys!

I have planned for the holiday season. I have decorated the house. I have bought a few gifts, ordered the cards and gift tags. But last night, it finally felt like Christmas. And the house can be a mess, the money can be tight, the actual day might include travel when we would like to stay home, but none of that matters. This year, with my two boys, with my family complete- this year is my year. This will be my best Christmas yet. And to make it even better, it won't end for a while. My little trans racial family will celebrate Christmas. Then Russian Christmas. Then, just as we are catching our breath it will be Chinese New Year. Yes, this is my year!

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