Sunday, October 12, 2008

Alex's First Christmas

Well, his first official Christmas anyway. Christmas 2005. It's funny to look back at my first full year as a new mommy.

Alex was originally due on December 29 of 2004, but we had headed up to Alabama on the 22nd. We spent Christmas day the year prior at my Uncle Albert and Aunt Nell's house, right on the edge because Tabatha kept having contractions all day long. Around 5pm, we thought, "this is it!", but little Alex just wanted to keep us on our toes. He did not come until three days later. That Christmas of '04 was memorable for another reason, however. Aunt Nell had asked me for a private moment together. I thought it was going to be a moment of explanation or instruction or something along the lines of how they wanted us to raise this baby, but that was not the case. What she did say was, "I was told by your mother and Chris [my other aunt] that you want Al and me to still be this baby's grandparents. Is that right?" I said, "yes, of course." Aunt Nell had quite a funny look on her face: that look you get right before you start crying. She said, "God bless you" and started crying. Then, "do you know how wonderful that makes us feel?" My reply: "well, it's a no-brainer. Family is family. You're his grandparents, and we're all family. Case closed." She said that that was the best Christmas gift she'd ever received.

So....we missed Christmas 2004 with our family back home, since we were up in Alabama awaiting Alex's arrival. We did something kind of sneaky. We had not told anyone about Alex, and our adoption of him, JUST IN CASE. Only my parents and Aunt Chris and of course, Adrian knew. So when we weren't there for the family Christmas celebration with hubby's side of the family (and that's a large, extended family) we ticked some people off royally. We just left a quick phone message with my sister-in-law saying that a family member of mine in Alabama was going to be in the hospital (not a lie, right?) and that we wanted to be with her. Then when Alex was born 3 days after Christmas, and we called to tell everyone, no one believed us. They thought we'd taken off for the islands. And then when the stay dragged on and on, all across the Southeastern US, everyone really thought we'd lost our marbles.

So...when we finally arrived back in our home town in late January of 2005, we had a late Christmas celebration. We dressed Alex in a tiny, newborn Santa suit, and had homemade cookies, gifts, family, food, friends....everyone wanted to come see our miracle baby. It was a wonderful, wonderful celebration.Christmas of 2005, looking back on the past brought tears to my eyes. What a difference a year can make. It was in some ways a more difficult year than 2004....that first year without Angelia. I guess because by 20 months after her death, the shock of losing her had worn off. It was "real"...she was truly gone. That first year, that first Christmas without her, we were very caught up in the excitement of the arrival of our new baby. This second sinks's not just a bad dream... a painful resignation sets in...that such awful tragedies really DO happen. But, as we learned, miracles happen also. Never can one child replace another, but certainly, another child can bring you happiness and the will to go on and live again.

Alex is such a miracle baby, for that and so many other reasons. It was pure joy to watch him as he enjoyed his first Christmas.

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