Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008: A Recap

Well, yet another Christmas is in the books and I have to say this was the most pleasant Christmas that I have had in quite some time. The reason? We kept it simple.

Being on modified bed rest has forced us to cut back on some of our activities as a family, and consequently, we cut back on a lot of the plans that we had made for Christmas. We didn't attend four extended family functions (which were scattered throughout Eastern Wisconsin) as we had originally planned to, and instead of spending Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Aaron's, we decided to fit them both in on Christmas Day and we spent Christmas Eve quietly, just the three of us.

Christmas Eve was lovely. Aaron and I both had to work during the day, but then the three of us attended a small, low-key church service that ended with all of the attendees holding candles and singing "Silent Night". The pastor asked each of us to look at the candlelight after we finished singing and think of those who we were missing at that moment or of those who we might have lost in the previous year and remember that those people are still with us in our hearts. Tears streamed down my face as I thought of what we have been through this year, but at the same time, I was so glad to be with Aaron and Grace that I was filled with an immense joy. It was a heartbreakingly beautiful and powerful moment for me.

After church we had planned to head down to Cathedral Square to check out the lights and Christmas tree displays, but the wind was beyond frigid and Grace was starting to show signs of sleepiness, so we decided to head back home. Grace excitedly got her plate of cookies and glass of milk ready for Santa and placed them under the tree and she was more than happy to hit the hay as we promised her that when she woke up the next morning, she would surely be greeted with presents from Santa. Then, once she was asleep, Aaron and I got all of Grace's gifts together and placed them around the tree.

We woke up bright and early on Christmas morning, and Grace darted out of bed and down the steps in search of her gifts. The first thing she noticed was that Santa had eaten all but a couple bites of his cookies and that he drank all of his milk, and she was so proud that he liked her cookies. Then, she tore into her gifts with reckless abandon and marveled at each one, only pausing between each gift long enough for me to snap a picture or two. Grace also helped Aaron and I open our gifts to each other and then we took a few moments to admire our loot before it was time to get ready to head out to visit with our parents.

One thing that I worried about when we decided to fit both of our families into one day was that we would end up feeling rushed at one or both of the gatherings (and I worried that would happen at my family's gathering since we were going there first), but honestly, we really enjoyed our time at both gatherings and we didn't feel cheated at all. We had a lovely (and delicious) brunch with my family after opening gifts and we had plenty of time to allow Grace to play with many of her presents and we also had lots of time to enjoy each others company. Then, we headed to my in-laws, and again, we had plenty of time to enjoy all of the festivities. The next morning, we headed back to Milwaukee.

All in all, it was a fabulous Christmas. Something that Aaron and I chatted about on the way to my in-laws on Christmas Day was the Christmas "feeling" that we used to get when we were children. It's the unmistakable feeling that used to come over me as Christmas approached--a feeling of anticipation, of tradition, of excitement, and of family. Aaron and I both intimated that we hadn't always felt that feeling as adults...until we had a family of our own. There is something about spending Christmas with a child of your own that makes you feel that Christmas feeling again, because you see the holiday through your child's eyes. This Christmas was a very special and meaningful one for us, and a lot of that is because Aaron, Grace, and I were able to spend it in our own way.

Hope all of you had a wonderful holiday!!


Carrie said...

Sometimes I think the main reason people HAVE children is to bring back the Christmas magic. Glad you had a lovely Xmas. We did too!