Santa came with love this year, quietly unpacking with whispers & a moment of collapsing on the couch to stare at the tree. By the fireplace laid Harrison’s coveted “carries cars monsters trucks”, aka a car carrier with monster trucks. He’s been asking for it for months, spending minutes & hours staring in the Target aisles, along with an ambulance & tow truck for his little Imaginext city. He then asked me if Santa shopped at Target & I’m worried we’ve got a Beth Anne 2.0 on our hands (I informed my mother at the age of 5 that I absolutely could not believe in Santa. Too bad, so sad).
There were moments of doubt, where I looked at his small pile & wondered if we should have, could have, would have done more. There were pangs of jealousy looking through Instagram feeds full of expensive gifts & massive piles. On Christmas morning, I opened a book I’ve wanted since its release & Harrison gave Doug a new tie for interviews but there were moments where my breaths came too fast, where I let the anxiety take over the magic of Christmas.
There’s horrible, honest guilt in those feelings, felt beside a lit Christmas tree with a happy son & beautiful home. Callaway clubs & Tiffany boxes do not make Christmas, but rather a small boy that had to be wakened at 8am because he laid awake late into the night, listening for jingle bells. In those brief moments of feeling inadequate, I remembered Harrison & his Matchbox cars on the church pew the night before while we lifted candles high in the air.
Simple happiness is a balm for anxiety & can be found everywhere. I just have to take the blinders off & keep my eyes open.
After our little family of three opened gifts, we drove to my parent’s house for gifts & breakfast & stayed through dinner. To me, Christmas is simply better with family although there were moments when I craved to be in my own home all day. I wonder if that feeling will grow stronger over the years.
Harry took this picture of me after dinner while we were pulling out dessert & scrubbing china plates. I want him to remember me this way on Christmas Day, encouraging wild silliness. I want to remember that moment he giggled when Doug kissed me under the mistletoe with a laugh. I want to remember my little sister’s face when she saw the powder blue retro bike my parents bought her. & I really want to remember to put 1/3 more sour cream in the mashed potatoes from now on because YUM.
I look at these pictures & my heart explodes. Despite my excessive navel-gazing, despite my flaws, Harrison found the real joy in the day.
I think that’s what makes four-year-olds the best.
We hope you had a beautiful, wonderful Christmas. May the coming days be filled with rest & hope for the new year.