The first Christmas that I was a mom, found us with a sweet little four year old in our home. Though the adoption would take years to happen, and nothing would go according to hopes or plans, in those very early days life felt saccharine in the best of ways.
On that Christmas eve, as her chubby little cheeks rested pinchable perfect, breaths deep and peaceful, we set about to do the things that parents were supposed to do. We pulled out the gifts “from Santa”, which had been hidden in the back of our apartment closet, and began assembling, wrapping and displaying them. I sat, stuffing her embroidered stocking, filled with this indescribable feeling one gets when their moments far exceed anything they’d hoped for.
It was a beautiful time- precious between my husband and I.
We had been through so much to get there. So much grief and loss, while it still mattered, felt somehow worth the journey that Christmas Eve. The air was electric with something neither of us could explain.
As I stuffed the last bit of what would fit, into her stocking, a thrill shot through me…
What if, as a mom now, I was about to learn that Santa WAS real? What if, while we slept, he’d creep throughout our apartment disappointed that my husband had eaten his cookies and our dog had munched the reindeer’s carrots? What if other gifts, gifts we hadn’t bought, would appear beneath our tree? It was all at once ridiculous and thrilling. What if...
To this day, I remember the magical away that question felt. The real magic being both the question and the possibility. The even realer magic being the sleeping child on the other side of that wall.
“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”
~ Dale Evans
Nearly a year later Christmas magic would show up once again. Our home had been the ninth one to this little girl, and on what was her fifth Christmas, she gently unwrapped ornaments on the evening we decorated our tree. With each piece she opened, her eyes would grow bigger. At times there were tears as she swam through the overwhelm of seeing decorations she remembered, and things she had helped pick out. That poor child had never known that feeling before.
This was the night she told us she no longer needed the suitcase she’d come to us with.
This was the first night she allowed herself to sink into the feeling that she belonged somewhere.
The magic of those moments superseded the questions of Santa, by a lot.
Once again, the Christmas morning stocking had too many belongings, so it sat nestled into the pile, on the couch. This would remain a tradition for years, borrowing its way into the Easter baskets months later.
Christmas magic would reappear here and there. For years it was in the very same jolly Santa we’d visit, each December. Sometimes it would nestle in sweetly within a snuggled-up favorite movie, Christmas light ride with cocoa or some other unsuspecting moment that would take my breath away.
The magic of my motherhood journey stole my breath often. And though a forever motherhood journey was not in the design for me, those beautiful frozen moments are there, and along with the tissue wrapped glass balls and stars, I unwrap them and remember. Sometimes things are hard. Sometimes we lose what we hoped for, and sometimes in the process we gain what was lost. We fall prey again and again to this one-set idea of how things are “supposed to be” and sometimes, they just can’t be.
Sometimes we have to let go.
In the releasing, we are allowed to keep the proceeding moments.
This year the holidays are finding most of us vulnerable, uncomfortable and different. Whatever you’re facing, it is ok to unpack the moments that hold light for you. While we cannot live in the past, or the what if’s, or the same- it is ok to visit the fragments reflecting life differently. It is ok to remember that moment, and allow that they happened to be a bit of Christmas magic all it’s own.
Happy Christmas, friends, to you and yours. Stay safe and make time to nurture yourself.
It is in those moments of self love, releasing of resentments and spreading kindness that we make room to let the light in. Today is Winter Solstice, the light is coming!
Sliver by sliver, the light is on its way…