Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Christmas Story


Hello, friend! It's been awhile, hasn't it?

I just thought I'd pop in this morning and give you a quick and dirty Christmas update {okay, it won't be quick, but you better believe it's going to be dirty. Flu germ dirty.} Yes, this little bunch of mine has been up to quite a bit in the days I've been absent from my corner of the Internet. Wrapping carefully hidden presents, grocery shopping for the big day, checking out the twinkling lights all across town, and hacking, coughing, wheezing, and sneezing.

A symphony of sickness that we often tried to coordinate into "Jingle Bells." Festive, right?

It started the week before Christmas when Owen's temperature spiked. We were lucky enough to get him into the doctor the next day and he was promptly given what would be a positive flu test. My fever arrived the next day and we continued to fall one by one. Everyone expect the patriarch of the family, whose lucky job was to care for all of us pitiful little sickos. The days crept closer to December 25 and I fell into deeper despair with each cross on the calendar.

Before the sickness hit, I had big plans y'all. Plans of kids in matching jammies huddled together on the couch, watching hours of Christmas movies, sharing hot cocoa, and talking about the big man's ride in the sky. I saw the five of us wedged into a packed house at church, listening to the good news. I wanted to be the first one up on Christmas morning, ready to capture the magic and then promptly begin an incredible three-course lunch since my parents would be dining with us.

Turns out my one success was that I actually wore pants during all the merriment.

But you know what? As my family traveled the homeward highway Christmas Eve after sniffling our way through dinner, I peeked into my backseat. I had been sad all day about missing out on some of the perfect moments I had handcrafted in my mind, but as I saw both boys staring into the night sky in search of eight tiny reindeer and a little girl fast asleep, I knew I wasn't missing anything. We didn't get to attend Mass as a family, there were no place cards at Christmas dinner, and I was the last one Nathan had to pry out of bed to witness the morning magic, but it was still perfect. It was our first as a family of five and the love we shared was enough.

Christmas isn't about getting it exactly right, it's about remembering why we strive for perfection in the first place. Every single December 25 we celebrate the only one capable of achieving it, and he did just that when he took his first breath of night air in a Bethlehem manger. That realization sorts of turns the lack of fine China and fresh-baked cookies into a nonevent, doesn't it?

Once I slowed down and stopped focusing on what I was doing wrong, I could see all the things I've done right, starting with the three best Christmas gifts I have received over the years. A baby changes everything.

"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'"

A merry Christmas, indeed.

Now that my Christmas tale has been told, rest assured that we are starting to feel better. Owen is currently bouncing off the walls, Nora is napping without snoring, and Nathan is playing his Ninja Turtle video game. I can taste the coffee brewed fresh in my new Keurig {thanks, Santa!}, and we're gearing up to do it all again at Bauer Family Christmas this evening. Bring it on!

Until then, how about a Christmas morning play-by-play via photos I managed to capture during the gift-opening extravaganza? Of course I got the best shots of Nathan, who happily posed with every single thing he received after proclaiming each as "the best gift ever!" He seemed to top the nice list this year, and you'd have thought he won the lottery when he unwrapped that robe:


Owen was still pretty sluggish come Christmas morning, but he was thrilled to see his hand-picked carrots and Nana-baked cookies nibbled away by the big guy and his reindeer. The best part about celebrating with Owen was when he learned there was more to presents than beautiful boxes. There were things inside! For weeks, I asked him what kind of presents Santa would bring. For weeks, he told me "green ones." His technique was impressive after he caught sight of the first toy:


Nora June, bless her heart, had no idea what was happening. She just sat in her bright red jams in horror as the boys ripped into gift after gift. Once it was her turn, she was pretty skeptical, as you can see; however, the sweet little toys waiting inside turned that frown upside down:


Also, she got to wear a beautiful dress and accent her luxurious locks with a brand-new headband, so she was pumped:


Christmas 2013 is one I will always remember. It was Nora's first holiday season, the most fun one for Owen to date, and the one where imperfection plus a little bit of grace and humility showed me exactly what mattered most.



 photo signature_zpsf6106f25.png

1 comment:

jdilday said...

"
Christmas isn't about getting it exactly right, it's about remembering why we strive for perfection in the first place. Every single December 25 we celebrate the only one capable of achieving it, and he did just that when he took his first breath of night air in a Bethlehem manger. That realization sorts of turns the lack of fine China and fresh-baked cookies into a nonevent, doesn't it?"

A stunning and humbling observation. Good for you for realizing the true meaning of these holy days. Christmas blessings to you and your sweet family.