Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas 2006

Christmas 2006

Well, Thanksgiving came and went, with much drama, as always, and we were now looking forward to Alex’s 2nd Christmas. We began our month-long celebration with our annual family holiday trip to St. Augustine. Pete and I began going to St. Augustine one weekend every December years and years ago. I remember one Christmas in particular, before we were married, when had dinner at the Columbia Restaurant in the historic district. We sat there for hours, holding hands across the table, taking our time with our 5-course, gourmet meal, looking at each other over candlelight and Christmas lights, and took turns singing our favorite Christmas songs to each other. We actually had people stop and listen to us....some even commented on our obvious joy in the season, and our caring and devotion to each other. It was a wonderful night, full of love and joy and magic.

Yeah, a few years, a few kids, a mortgage, full time job, taxes, insurance and the price of gas later, just makes ya wanna barf up a lung or two, huh?


But it was nice....an evening like that now would still be special, but rare, indeed, because now our meals are spent trying to keep our kids’ butts in their chairs, feet off the table, and fingers out of their noses. And that's just when they're being good.

So the new tradition is to take the kid. And we did, and it was (and remains) a new kind of special and magic. We saw Santa Claus, shopped, ate, watched the holiday boat regatta from the Fort...it was a cold night, but worth the bundling up to see and do everything.

The following weekend was our annual adoption support group holiday party, where Pete plays Santa Claus each year. This year it was held at the home of our friends Dawn and David and their 4-year-old son, Ryan, where they had recently added a swimming pool, so their back yard was filled with hills and mounds and Alex’s new favorite thing: DIRT! Tons and tons and tons of DIRT! Alex was as happy as a pig in slop; for the first time ever in his short, two-year life, when he saw all that dirt and all those toy diggers and dozers and dump trucks and backhoes, he dropped our hands and ran away from us, not looking back even once. That’s a hard moment for a new parent. He was so excited, though, and having so much fun, it was hard to not be excited for him.

After leaving that party, we joined Pete’s sister and her family at the Festival of Lights in Silver Springs. Contrary to our cold night in St. Augustine, Ocala was hot, hot, hot that night. It seemed a little odd to be enjoying Christmas lights, including snowscape displays, while sweating, but other than that, we all had a great time. They had a boat regatta there, too, and Alex was more fascinated by the police boats than by the decorated boats. Good thing the police were there, too, because two of the boats crashed into each other.

Alex finally began to catch on to this whole Santa thing. We’d ask him who is coming to visit this month; his reply, “Saaa...uh.” What does Santa say, Alex; “ho, ho, ho”. Our next question: what does Santa bring? His answer: “pies” for surprise. He finally began to recognize Santa on display at the grocery store, pharmacy or Target, and it thrilled him (us, too)!

On the morning of Christmas eve, we went to breakfast at the Gateway Grand buffet with my parents, brother and Aunt Chris, and Bob and Jean. High up around the perimeter of the room ran a huge toy train set, so Alex sat gape-mouthed the whole time, spellbound by the huge train. That evening was spent at the wonderful children’s Christmas eve service at our church. At one point during the service, all the toddler and pre-school children were asked to come forward for a scripture reading with the director of children’s ministries at the front of the church. So Alex goes up there, along with about 100 other little ones, where some older school age children performed a re-enactment of the birth of Christ, complete with a manger scene, shepard and sheepdogs. As the sheepdogs are being led down the aisle towards the pulpit, Alex sees the dogs, stands up in the middle of the service, points and screams out, “Look! Dog! It’s Ro-ro!” (Alex’s nickname for my dad’s dog, Rose). Right during the scripture reading, at the pulpit of the church, in front of ministers, other kids, families, and about 900 other people there for the service, Alex does his thing. The Virgin Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men, Baby Jesus, and Alex, screaming “Ro-ro” over and over again. He was beside himself, and it was a priceless moment.

And the Alex moments did not end there: at the end of the service, the senior minister is dismissing is with a prayer and Alex, back in his seat with us by now, is jumpy, jittery and bouncing all over the place, being an almost two year old, in other words. I tried to get him to be still and quiet for the prayer, even if he was too little to really understand. I just wanted him to be still and quiet. I tried to get him to bow his head and fold his hands, but it was hard. But I was working it, and finally the minister says, “Amen”, and Alex sees me lift my head up and sees everyone else doing the same, and the room is quiet for the split second after the “Amen”, and Alex yells out, in his own Alex way, “All done?” Just like he says when he’s through with anything: his dinner, his bubble bath, changing his diaper. Really, really loud: “All done?” Needless to say, our new family tradition after saying any prayer is to include: “All done”!

After church, we headed out to my SIL Gloria’s house for our family Christmas Eve gathering. Alex had a blast with his cousin Tyler, who is only 6 months older than he. His cousin Dominique, who was 10 at the time, was completely enchanted with Alex, and kept playing and dancing with him all night. And, of course, Sandy was the same way. Sandy is Pete’s niece and she thinks Alex is “her baby”, so it was quite the competition between Sandy and Dominique that night over who gets to be with Alex. That night also included a very special treat: Dominique gave her own Christmas concert that evening by singing “Silent Night”, “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”. No one in the family has ever sang publicly before, and I was impressed. At 10 years old, I was far too shy and awkward to have done anything like that, especially in front of such a large crowd as that family. It was a wonderful moment to share.

Christmas Day the next morning was kind of quiet compared to the night before with 40 people there. Just the three of us that morning. Alex even slept late that morning, and when he finally did get up and went in to see the tree and all the presents, all he could say was “WOW”! Over and over again: “WOW”! We spent a quiet morning together, playing with Alex and his toys, and then went over to my parents’ house for more presents, and then came back to my house for our pot roast Christmas Day dinner. It even turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself!

It was a great holiday! I felt so blessed, I was so blessed. Family, friends, fun....it had been a great Christmas, one I would always remember as one of the best. As Alex says, "All done!"

1 comment:

A Mom's Journey said...

Ok..this is the 3rd time..and they say 3rd time is a charm.

I have enjoyed reading your blogs. They really show how life is in families. Your stories have shown how it seems fulfilled.

Alex is sure a ham! "All done!!" I loved that! so cute!!!

Keep 'em coming. I love those real-life stories.