Here’s a funny thing that nobody told me before I put my uterus to use—breeding changes everything.
Body. Mind. Even the itsy bitsy details that go into the way I once enjoyed life have changed in the wake of human-creation.
Being fatter, tired and a little more scattered are three things I’ve come to terms with and mostly expected, but the way I enjoyed this season in particular is something I may always miss.
Pre-breeding Christmas was all about imbibing, the cookies and cakes and so much glorious shopping. Imbibing to celebrate said shopping. Sleeping late so I could really revel in all the aforementioned things. Then watching Christmas movies that made me cry my yearly allotment of tears, binge eating cheese and crackers to soak up said tears and a couple more glasses of wine to wash it down. Twenty-five days of preparation for the best occasion of all—Christmas.
Even thinking about the glorious days of yore gives me a headache and a minor panic attack—I can’t imagine how I would manage the fallout if I even tried to squeeze in one of my old traditions.
So, instead, I have started new traditions with my family, which are lovely. Maybe even lovelier. Way lovelier, come to think of it. But, so we’re clear, that doesn’t douse my nostalgia.
Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a small human is pretty spectacular. There’s excitement, joy, wonder and, if you’re the type of person who viewed Christmas as a free-for-all, the realization that you can actually pass down a touch of greed—the antithesis of the season, say all the movies I ever watched during my holiday traditions.
My little bundle of joy reminded me that the other day.
Now, here’s the thing I have, that my parents didn’t, and I never accounted for in my attempts to raise a new person—money.
Mine didn’t have a lot of cash to throw around. And they were raised by people who fought in the Second World War, so there was that.
Christmas, my birthday, Easter—these were all a big deal to me because these were giving and receiving seasons.
Monday and Friday have become the giving seasons around my house. Whenever we go grocery shopping, my little human will reach his beautiful little hand out for something, and he gets it. It’s not expensive. Just a little thingamajig to keep him content.
He’s a really lovely child, so why not?
When I gave him his advent calendar this week, I finally realized that this particular “why not” isn’t rhetorical. Initially he looked at the calendar with all the wonder I expected.
A door to open…every day? All I have to do is wake up and it will be there? Hooray.
He tried putting himself to bed three times the night before Dec. 1, until I finally explained that a full night’s sleep was required for the little door to swing open and reveal a surprise.
Before I go much further, I have to add that he got a LEGO advent calendar, so it’s not some uneventful picture or terrible chocolate that greets him in the morning. It’s LEGO. The holy grail for all three-year-old boys. So I expected a bit of excitement. Not the kind I got, however.
At around 2:30 a.m. Monday, my little human put his face an inch away from mine and said, “The sunny is coming up, can we go open a door?”
I tried to coerce him back into bed, but he was having none of it. So, I said as a one-time-only event, we’d open that door before the sun gave the go-ahead.
By the light of the illuminated Christmas tree, he put his adorable little finger in the slot, pulled and then found a tiny little LEGO inside.
And the magic I was expecting came out a bit funny.
“That’s not the train,” he said “I WANT THE TRAIN.”
“OPEN MORE DOORS, MUMMY. GET ME THE TRAIN.”
He tried to put the little LEGO from door one back into the box, even. “I DONT WANT THIS. I WANT THE TRAIN.”
It was a meltdown unlike any meltdown I’ve ever seen, and during the kickoff to my most beloved season.
“No. No train today. Just one door a day,” I said, so many times that it didn’t even seem sensible to me. I was moments away from ripping the whole box apart, giving him all the contents and calling it a season when I realized, I was having a real Christmas moment.
All the lessons learned in those Christmas movies came rushing at me and like Ebenezer Scrooge before me, I intend to keep this lesson in mind every day of the year.
I may want my little boy to have everything he wants, whenever he wants it, but that’s not really the point of life, is it? In fact, I think it may just sour his naturally sweet nature.
And, what’s special about this season isn’t just the fulfillment of every whim and desire—though I loved it when it was—it really is the chance to spend time with loved ones, creating memories and, sure, some presents.
Lots of them, probably. But, as a holiday lover, I need to tighten my purse strings a bit during the rest of the year.
In many ways the world is a better place than it’s ever been. But with the comparative wealth I’ve been able to enjoy, comes responsibility.
I know it’s not enough to just exist and consume. I learned that lesson ages ago and, in turn, earned my old 25 days of joyous, self-indulgent celebration.
What I almost missed, however, is letting my little human learn it as well. That’s the aim for 2016, anyway.
So, I suppose that’s this year’s Christmas gift to me—a bit of clarity. Not quite as sweet as chocolates and a bottle of wine, but more in line with the spirit of the season.