I had planned on writing a longer, more thoughtful Christmas post, wrapping up all of my feelings about this season, this year. But here we are, on the 26th, and I’m scrambling to piece together a few words while Theo takes his afternoon nap.
I can’t wait for Christmas this year! I’m writing this over the Thanksgiving holiday from sunny Arizona, where we are here visiting friends. But as soon as we get home, we’re launching into full Christmas mode. Many of my favorite childhood memories come from Christmases past, and few of them involve presents, except for the Christmas kitten I found meowing under the tree when I was seven. I just have this visceral memory of joy, of music and laughter and the smell of pies baking and the warmth of the wood stove warming the kitchen. Christmas is magic.
I’m curled up in the sunroom of our vacation rental that is perched on a low bluff of San Juan Island, gazing at the sun glinting on the water below and the breeze rustling the leaves of the madrona trees growing into the steep rocky bank. While Theo naps in the bedroom, the white noise machine drones through the closed door as I’m trying to find the words to capture the last 18 months.
Before Theo was born, I did zero research on baby clothes. I was too focused on the birth to think much about what came afterwards, other than having the nursery set up. Plus, since I didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, I didn’t want to waste a lot of time researching clothing we may never need.
It may be Spring, but here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather is still mostly cool and gray and rainy. To keep us from going crazy, we have to get creative about how to have fun indoors when the wind is whipping and it’s too cold to bundle up for the park (or I’m too tired of bundling up). Here are six indoor activities that Theo loves.
According to my mom, I started reading when I was three years old. She must be right, because I attended Montessori school from age three to five, and most of my memories are being curled up in the reading loft with a pile of books. When I was very little, at bedtime Mom would squeeze into bed with my brother and me and we would read book after book. The Sweet Pickle series was our favorite. As I got older, I would take a flashlight to bed and read under the covers, well past my bedtime. I read every Laura Ingalls Wilder multiple time, the entire Nancy Drew series, and every biography in my elementary school library. By the fourth grade, I graduated to reading through the series of hard cover classics in my parents’ library, starting with Gone With the Wind, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. You get the picture. Reading was a way to travel to other places and other times, to live in someone else’s shoes. I loved it.
The night before Theo’s first birthday, Elie and I watched the video from his birth. It was the first time I had seen it, and it seemed like the right amount of time to go back and re-live that night. The battery on the camera died right before Theo was born, but we can to see the moments right before. The room was calm, the lights low, voices soft, my Mom was standing beside me, Elie was feeding me ice chips and wiping my forehead, waiting to be the first hands our baby felt. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to bring our sweet boy into the world.
This morning we had a friend come over for coffee. We all sat in the family room, Elie and me on the floor with Theo, playing. He was toddling back and forth between Elie and me, laughing and crinkling up his nose, squinting his eyes and snorting in the way he does now when he is very excited and proud of himself. As his parents, we think it’s adorable. Every time the kitty walked by, he lunged for a kiss, and we checked to make sure he wasn’t too vigorous with his love.
For those of you who read these monthly posts and enjoy following along with Theo’s first year, thank you. I can’t believe he’s been in this world for almost twelve months. These posts have been so precious to write, to reflect each month on how much he changes and how quickly.