It's our "Christmas Eve" tonight. With two days of family celebrations coming, starting tomorrow, we're definitely getting into the swing of things. The gifts are wrapped, under the tree, the Christmas tunes are playing, the lights are lit, and final food preparations are taking place, together with some spontaneous dancing and stolen kisses.
A friend gave me a gift today, which I prematurely opened. It was Kaiya's fault, really. She had taken the box excitedly from Jeff and started bashing it up a bit. I had to intervene. ;) The gift was small and simple, but as I placed it around my neck, its meaning hit me in a funny place, and I found myself getting weepy at the silliest of things. Good gifts get you like that, I think. They go beyond the material to reach into your soft spots and make you realize that you're loved, and that it's all okay. And as I begin to pack up this year of events, and unfortunate non-events, I am reminded that yes, it's okay.
Kaiya has been so excited to have both of us home. She simply can't get enough of us, especially Jeff. Tonight, he ran out to the LCBO downtown to get the much needed bottle of red, and she screamed, yes, screamed, when we told her she couldn't go with him. I held her while she screamed, trying to be patient with her toddler rage, but I finally said (yelled?), "If you don't stop screaming, you'll need to go up to your room." She said, "No! I don't want to!" I said, "You need to calm down. Screaming is not okay." And she replied, "But screaming is part of my crying!!" (sniff, sniff)
I could eat her up.
We're having our special "just us" Christmas morning tomorrow. It's the start of some of our carefully chosen Christmas traditions. For the first time, I'm going to make a special Christmas breakfast (baked blueberry and pecan French toast), and then we're going to open our gifts together. I'm really excited. After that, we'll go to my sister's for celebrations with my side of the family, and then we'll continue with Jeff's side on the 25th.
We decided to let her open one of her gifts tonight. She chose the blue and gold star papered box, and promptly placed it in my lap. I said, "Honey, it's your gift. You go ahead and open it." And she looked a bit upset and said, "But I don't know how to open gifts yet!"
This strangely brought a flood of tears to my eyes. It must have been all the fuzzy feelings stirred by that gift hanging around my neck. We quickly had to explain to Kaiya that people have happy tears sometimes, too. All while she was patting my arm saying, "Aw, mom, cheer up. Cheer up."
After some prompting and guidance, she tore into the wrapping paper. I was a little nervous. I had gone out on a limb with this one. See, she has a ton of "stuffies," and somehow, she has managed to have two (or more) of almost everything. In Kaiya's world, everything is about "mommies and daddies and babies." So when she has a bigger stuffie, it's usually the mommy, and a smaller stuffie is the baby.
Her favourite lately has been her hippo. But poor little hippo is an orphan. No mommy, no daddy. So I took it upon myself to find this hippo a mommy. An ever-so-slightly larger version. But would she like it? Or was part of the reason she loved hippo so much the fact that he was all alone?
I think it's safe to say this momma's instinct was spot on.
It was love at first sight. She cried, "Momma! Momma!" Then she grabbed baby hippo and put them together in a warm embrace.
And then we had to take a picture with all of her favourite stuffies, of course. Don't worry. Little hippo is there, tucked in behind his momma. Somehow the white bear became "daddy." Whatever. We're all for inter-species relationships:
There's much more I could blabber on about. Musings on this time of year, on the joy and hope I feel tonight in the midst of all the other feelings. But I'll leave it at that.
So from our home to yours: Merry Christmas!! I hope you can take the time to really look around you this year and be thankful for the gazillion big and small things you have been given. He's a good God.
Love and peace,