Our Christmas was... well... maybe a little less-than to be desired. My poor husband had the flu. And little Tender Heart had a fever. The Christmas Concert that I absolutely cherish going to each year was sold out. Don't you think that a Christmas Concert at a Church should never be sold out? Well, I'm sure that it had something to do with the legal amount of people you can fit into the building. Bla bla bla. Whatever. AND... cause half my family was sick, and especially on Christmas Eve, we didn't go to church and feel the warming of the soul at the Candle Light service. We told ourselves that we will just stay at home and watch the movie "The Nativity". But we couldn't find it. Ba Humbug! Over the Christmas week we dragged the kids EVERYWHERE... which of coarse you WANT to do because you love being with your loved ones. But at the end of the day... or the end of the week... you shake your head and think about the un-godly amount of work it was for yourself... and the crazy ways in which your poor kids were pushed and pulled. I think that as a new mother of two... I learned a few things this year... which hopefully I will remember next year. So, now that you are thinking, "this girl sounds worse than the Grinch and Scrooge COMBINED" ... I'll let you in on a little secret... and tell you about the hour that my bad attitude turned into a better one.
Yesterday (the day after Christmas), I called my mom almost in tears and said, "Mom... I know how much your family wanted to see us and especially the boys... but we just can't make it. The kids are flipping out. Aaron is still sick and I'm exhausted. I'm really sorry." She of coarse understood. But knowing that our family was all together... eating, drinking, laughing and doing a crazy-fun Yankee-swap while we were at home doing NOTHING really was upsetting.
The kids actually asked us to go to sleep at 5:00pm. "Ni-night" they said as they put their hand up to their cheek as a pillow. (What 18-month-olds ask to go to bed??? REALLY tired ones.)
So... they were sound asleep at 5:30pm. My husband was comatose on the couch until he decided to go to bed also. And there I sat, at 7:30pm all alone. So... what did I do? I pulled out a bottle of red wine, poured myself a glass and watched the dumbest chick flick on television. I've never drank a glass of wine all by myself before. It was pathetic... and a little bit awesome at the same time.
I was so "woe-is-me" it was sick. I kept sighing these pathetic sighs, thinking someone would hear me and say, "oh... I know... it WAS awful." But then, over the coarse of that "dumb chick flick", I began to soften. I realized just how truly self-sucking-bottom-dweller-like I was at that moment. And the beautiful little moments of Christmas began to surface in my mind. And here they are: (I would have to say that thinking of them makes me believe that this was actually a precious little Christmas. Yes, it was).
- Tender Heart began walking this Christmas season. He is so proud. He has watched his brother walk for the past 4 months and has been a bit upset about that. I'm not sure how much of his "rickets" problem had to do with this delay of development. OR... if some kids just walk a bit later than the "usual". But, as we look back at what his muscle strength and development were when he first came home... we are pretty proud. And as you can see from this picture... so is he.
- We have friends, who, upon asking them what are some things they wanted for Christmas, answered, "A goat for a family in poverty." So thats what we got them. Well.... we actually got them medical aid for a village affected with HIV/AIDS, Malaria, etc.
- Our families and friends CHERISH, I mean absolutely CHERISH, our sons. Its a beautiful thing when, at first mention of our adoption plans, some seem a bit timid, but then you watch as the year pans out to see them love these two more than life itself. I mean, they would probably cut off their left arm for these little ones. Golly... and their right one! I could tell that for them... Christmas was about taking in just how wonderful it is to be a part of loving these two.
- That my sister woke up at 5:15am on Christmas morning so that she could come spend time with us.
- The calm in the air as we drove to and from Christmas gatherings... seeing chimneys puffing smoke, seeing all the twinkle lights on, feeling the love in the loads of cars in each driveway, and hearing the non-stop Christmas music of hope and good will to all men.
- Watching the "Today Show" the week before Christmas and seeing that all over the world, people still know what the true meaning of Christmas really is. And that people, lots of people are sacrificing, and giving, and loving during this season, and through the whole year. And those acts of kindness and goodness are being celebrated.
- Experiencing Christmas as a very personal thing. Some of the longings of Christmas in the inner heart can't really be shared. They are very personal and can only be known by you. And when the longing is filled... the sacred rubs up against our shoulders. It's like all your "antennas" and "feelers" are working and you actually take in all that is taking place in a moment... the physical, the spiritual, the emotional, the intellectual. Mine was experienced while driving through the chaos near the shopping malls two days before Christmas. (Ironic? Yes.) I was listening to, "The Prayer" by Celine Dione. And the tears rolled down. (Wow... you don't realize how much of a sap you are until you write down just how many times you cry.)
- Every morning during this season, we would wake up, get the boys out of their cribs, bring them into the living room... and the first thing that Brave Heart would do is go over to the Christmas Tree and try to plug in the lights. Once the lights were on... he would smile. And Tender Heart would clap.
- Playing "Breath of Heaven" on the piano at church a few Sundays before Christmas. My sister, mother and grandmother sang beside me and my father played the guitar.
- Greeting my brother-in-law at the airport when he arrived home safe from a semester in Italy (and bringing the little ones to surprise him).
- Trying to do "special things" with our new family of four... like going into the city and "ice-skating" (aka: sliding) on the frozen pond downtown.
- Realizing that nothing GREAT is without some kind of sacrifice. We no longer can get up and go to any Christmas party we want to... or stay out late. And we now have to spend an hour just packing up the "kids stuff" to get out of the house for 20 minutes. Sometimes I'm a tad-bit bitter about this... and then I come around.
- When my father-in-law text me after reading my blog: "Thanks for being my daughter-in-law. Love."
- When my Mom opened her gift from my sister, she and my Dad had tears in their eyes. It was a simple hand-made apron. But they knew just how much time and love was wrapped up in it.
- That my Mom got a new camera for Christmas (a Canon Digital SLR) and let me borrow it for a few days. It's so sick. (Sick as in wicked good... not sick as in the flu).
- And here are a few more that can be said with pictures (from the sick camera):