christmas this year was full of simplicity and small comforts. in less elegant words... i paid it no mind, the season slipped thru my fingers, and i don't have much to show for it. ha! traditions and holidays sure mean a lot to me, and i get so giddy and overly ambitious as i scroll pinterest, furiously pinning away all my hopes and dreams for approaching occasions. but in this season of my life, i am still finding balance. i am not quite on my own two feet yet, still wobbling around on fresh knees. or maybe more aptly on sea legs. either way, this season held just enough, i think, for my son to look back on and know that i've always cared for him, his experiences, his memories. and while i have several regrets-if not apathy-about this past december, i am smiling as i look back on the moments we gathered this month. and that is enough.
we started off with a christmas photo shoot just after thanksgiving. most of the photos of myself have me cringing at my terrible angles, but my boy shines so brightly in every one, and it is so special to me to have quality photos together. so i will treasure them forever... bird nose and all.
throughout the month i've been very happy to cozy into my sweaters and scarves. i joke that i am the ice queen, as i much prefer the cold. i thrive in it. it feels so fresh and invigorating to me. even as i whine and moan and hurry to my car as i swear my fingers are turning black, i cherish seeing the world sparkling in frost and the wisps of my breaths spiraling into the sky. cold weather calls for all my favorite comforts, adding to the magic as i surround myself with them. this month it has been lit candles, tea, iced coffee, piles of blankets, knee socks, and fresh crafting supplies for creating with headphones in.
dad treated us to the nutcracker this year, one of my most favorite experiences. my own mama took me at least a couple of times growing up, and my dad again treated me a few years back. it was such a treat to go, and see the ways in which our ballet had reinvented the classic in all of the best ways. bonus: i even successfully managed to drag little sister along!!
one day very near to christmas, i realized, i was on my last free day before christmas. with not one gift bought, nor tradition practiced, sparsely a decoration hung. suddenly aidric and i were in full christmas mode. we made sugar cookies "together," (i tried to let him watch, he tried to spill everything; i tried to get him to make a handprint cookie, psa, that is so not a thing; i fed him a piece of cookie dough which he loved, and i called it good). we next went out to pick out the christmas tree, which i also used to recreate our photo from last year and simultaneously get christmas card photos. yaaas. two birds, one stone. done and doner.
after furiously cramming christmas preparations in a day, it was on to work for a couple of days, then off to st. louis to visit with family. there, i completed the rest of my christmas errands like a boss. first stop was santa, which the uncles so kindly obliged to driving us to and standing in line for.
unfortunately, aidric was not willing to oblige. this took me by complete surprise -- my son, the boy who so quickly makes best of friends with strangers, who has never exhibited even a lick of separation anxiety!! my mama heart shattered and i felt immense, immediate guilt the moment i let go of my sweet boy and allowed him to sit upon a stranger's knee whose kind face clearly scared the crap out of him. i hovered, unsure of what to do, flabbergasted honestly, and heartbroken and guilty and embarrassed. in the 3 seconds that all of this went down, i tried to convince myself this was a normal thing to do and i was not a monster for traumatizing my child. i tried to coax him into a smile, because that's what i was supposed to do, right? but then thought to hell with it and quickly scooped him up.
after everything, i am very guilty to say i love the photo we got back. it might make me laugh. every time.
as it turned out, it wasn't just santa aidric was unwilling to pose with.
while in stl, though unpictured (insert eternally sad face, because dang it, this was my tradition i began last year and wanted a picture of every year), we took aidric to "pick" this year's christmas book to read together on christmas eve. the following day, i snuck out during his morning nap to complete my christmas shopping in one stop. BAM. also, i crammed in making homemade christmas cards and having those printed. i tell ya, this year i was just not on my game or in the spirit. but we made it happen!
after a quick trip, we were back on the road, just in time for me to head back to work on christmas eve, and realized around 4 that i hadn't thought of the necessity for a festive breakfast the next morning. so at 5 pm, i took my lunch break to fly around a grocery store, and have my first experience buying alcohol in a one-stop-shop. missouri, you da baddest (bonus points for catching my reference to a fave song of the moment). i hurried home after work to play santa. i tried to set out our week old sugar cookies with aidric, but he promptly double fisted the cookies and made off under the tree to try to slobber away their stale hardness. he also tried repeatedly to break my pretty plate, so i said enough of that. we then retired to the tree with a blanket and twinkling lights to read his christmas book in our matching pj's... only for him to throw a tantrum and try to rip the book apart and throw his toys around the room. i think i stopped pretending on page 3. off to bed he went. i also lose points for sending him to bed in the christmas pj's he wore while in stl that i forgot to wash, and had cookie stains on... woo, really making myself out to be mom of the year this post.
i set up his gifts and hurried to finish wrapping the rest of my family's, though i did leave one for the next day as my eyes drifted shut. i enjoyed the experience and was so excited for my son to finally awake to the presents i knew were so perfect for him, but also battled a heavy heart, as i realized how alone i was doing so. i was grateful when my dad gently offered to help put a table and chairs together for him. "do you want to do this all by yourself, or may i help you?" we built it, together, just as we did countless time during my childhood. i thought of how sweetly the time had passed, coming full circle as he helped me to build something for my son. i wondered what it felt like on his end to be with his now grown daughter. i knew i will know all to soon.
aidric slept in just enough on christmas morning, after i had him kept awake later than usual so that i could see him after work. he reacted to his gifts perfectly, just the way i'd imagined over the preceding weeks, and i savored this new feeling and memory of motherhood. i quickly set to work creating our fun breakfast before he turned too hangry.
the rest of the morning was spent lazing around, playing with his deliveries from santa, napping, and waiting for family to arrive and open gifts after dinner. it was a simple, quiet day, and it was beautiful.
merriest and brightest of christmases to you and yours. until next year... xx