She stood there shy, like she always does in the beginning. Dressed in a red tutu and boots, the old women were crooning over her in all their old woman glory. Oh my, Bethyl, take a look at this one. I stood to the side watching them point out how blue her eyes were, how sweet her outfit was, how beautiful her skin was. Then, one lady looked up. Is she yours? she asked, her eyes crinkling with adoration. I smiled back and as I said the words, I thought I might burst open like a bottle of champagne. Yes, I said. She’s mine.
We stayed a little longer there, until Ella was pulled away by the Christmas music and twinkly lights. She blew them a kiss and said bye-bye before running off, deep into the excitement we promised her the night would hold. I looked back to the ladies as I hurried after her, and I saw a look on their faces I’ve come to know well. Part nostalgia, part affection, part sadness. And, like I always do, I took it deep into my heart and used it to savour more wholly these years I know are fleeting.
I ran after her, all mama-razzi and heavily pregnant-bellied of me, dodging kids and walking sticks and half eaten candy canes and church men dressed as shepherd-looking people asking me if I wanted a program. Sorry Mr Shepherd, I do not want a program. I just want to look at my daughter’s face all night because you probably don’t know but I am a bit Christmas-crazy and this is our first ever Christmas light display and I’m feeling so high on life even though I’m exhausted because this baby I’m carrying is coming soon and we’re not really that organized but it’s okay because I’m much more relaxed this time and did I tell you my daughter’s only just starting to get Christmas and that’s so freaking exciting and I just have to follow her – sir I hope you understand?
After she was thoroughly worn out, full of fudge and memories, Joel and I bundled her over-tired tutu-ed body into the car and drove home, not saying much but both feeling the unspoken contentment of how good is this life we share?
Listen, I’m gonna be lightin’ more sparklers and spreadin’ more Christmas cheer and y’all can join in now with a ho, ho, ho and a clink of your cocoa-filled mugs. Even Ella’s cup is filling fast. When we ask her what Santa says, she answers – ho, ho, merry kissmiss in her shy, I-hope-I’m-getting-it-right signature style. And rein-da’s? Well, we learned how to say them this morning and they are a total hit around these parts.
Christmas Hurrah 1
Let it be known that while the cutting of paper snowflakes can give one blisters, we must still attempt this glorious feat because honestly, the cheer. It is mighty.
Joel makes some passing comment about do they have to be right in our walkway something or other but, really, I’ve stopped listening to his Christmas commentary. I have a highly sensitive Christmas Snuffer Radar and if you aren’t gonna get all Clark Griswold on us, you will be ignored.
Christmas Hurrah 2
The morning advent ritual is something I will miss once December ends. Instead of waking up and getting straight into the business of things, this tradition allows us to linger first in family and pyjamas while we sip on coffee and start the day slow.
And afterwards? She’s always got to give Santa a cuddle.
And a kiss.
Christmas Hurrah 3
One of my favourite December activities. There is Rein-da food, everyone. We are ready.
Christmas Hurrah 4
Merry water. North-pole chilled and delivered to us on the backs of Polar bears.
Christmas Hurrah 5
I went online and made Ella a super easy (and free!) personalized message from Santa Claus himself after getting the heads up from my friend Renae. We watched it four times, which could have easily turned into a hundred had I not told Ella that Santa needed to go to sleep. She was transfixed. Definitely something I’ll be doing every year. Completely magical.
I made the video via The Portable North Pole, if you want to do the same for your babies. You can get to their website here.
We’ve been enjoying more firsts this week – first train rides and first Christmas concerts and I am reminded again that the joys of parenthood are earned. Between the bookends of the everyday — the million repeated phrases of ‘no’ or ‘don’t’ and the hundred loads of washing and the over-tired meltdowns and the spills and mess and pens where they shouldn’t be, lie stretches of pure heaven, where we drink in our children and marvel at how wonderful life is because of them.
You guys, Southbank. I forgot how fun that place is.
Also, prenatal vitamins.
Otherwise known as, simply, Happiness.
Leaving you with our usual Friday Photo Dump (@theredtent if you want to follow the Instagram feed) and wishing you a wonderful weekend. Go pop some popcorn. And drink some merry water. The CC is on. (Christmas Countdown for those not fluent in Cheer.)