Monday, December 29, 2008

A Wonderful Christmas

Christmas was wonderful. Only the Grinch or Scrooge wouldn't have laughed and felt happiness bubbling up inside just watching Kylie and Logan.

She smiled the entire time -- not just because of the gifts that flowed around her like lava but, it seemed to me, because she was so glad she and her brother were being honored on this special holiday. That child has perfect comedic timing. She loves having her picture taken and posed with a big grin, and then just as the button was being pushed, she held Richie Bear completely in front of her.

Aside from Eric and Keri with their yearly demand for lasagne, I am not usually sought out for my cooking skills. Okay, mac and cheese is not a culinary achievement but I feel like Julia Child as Kylie scoops the morsels up with her fingers and hands me the spoon to allow me to feed her a bit. How does she read me so well?

Her little brother also has the gift to make you feel special. He just smiles beatifically as you squeeze him. I have never seen Alexa look so peaceful as when she fed him a bottle -- she was positively transformed.

They seem to be a perfect team to me. Kylie will run the show and Logan will play his part, admiring her direction all the way, but will no doubt sit back after a little while just to enjoy the scenery. He'll say, "chill, Kylie, just chill for a while," with a big smile and then we'll know his grandad Stan passed down a gene or two.

I got up this morning and when I went to put away some Christmas bags I had to pull out years and years worth of stuff from an overcrowded closet. I came upon a book with Keri's first published prose, written when she was in kindergarten. Luckily, there was a translation because it was obvious she hadn't learned phonex (and never did, thanks to the idiotic whole language phase in the school system in the '90's). Her story was about a friendly giant ("the Jit") who shared his food with her, "hot dogs as big and long as a car" and who "can climb up mountains in one step."

I can see that kind of imagination in Kylie and with all the reading she and her mom do, I know she will have fantabulous stories to share very soon. Hers might also need some translating but I can't wait to hear them.

This is the time for resolutions. I've got one and only one: Have fun! I know two little people who will help me to stick with it. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 5, 2008

We Need a Little Christmas

You know how everyone always says, "Christmas is for kids"? And of course, all the marketing spiels say that there is a kid in all of us -- but who believes advertisers? So, shocked am I that behind all these bags and wrinkles there lives a clammoring six-year-old. I can't wait to get out to Target later and see all the toys and books that I know Kylie and Logan absolutely have to have even though there isn't an empty inch of space in their playroom.

I got positively giddy yesterday when I saw that a small set of Christmas lights that never fit on anything were just the right size for the doll house my brother-in-law built for Keri about 20 years ago. That is the only thing in my house decorated right now but it's a start.

This Thanksgiving was so much fun -- the best in four years for me -- just being with family. Okay, sharing books with Kylie is one of the highlights in my life. I loved it when she walked backwards and wiggled her little butt into my lap, ready for the books I brought. One was about the Nativity and had tiny stuffed animals -- she knew sheep instantly and loudly. The petting zoo trips haven't been wasted on her.

I have been hearing from well-meaning people and bereavement experts over the last few years that the holidays are really rough when you're grieving. I wonder if they were born with that wisdom or had to learn it!!! Then there are those who are a quart low on empathy and proclaim, "Get on with life." Lately, I'm finding (surprisingly so) that they're both right. This Christmas season, or Advent to be specific, is so much more hopeful and peaceful. It really is possible to feel real joy while missing someone.

I work with a woman who refuses to read any book that is "bittersweet." I love those novels -- maybe because I feel comfortable with them. Isn't real life bittersweet? You've got your laughs and your tears, now and then at the exact same time, but perhaps I'm unique there. When I was pregnant with Keri, I remember telling the doctor during a visit that I was very emotional and would laugh and cry at the same time. He was nice about it but told me later that he had been very concerned for me since he found that behavior quite strange. Obviously, the dear man didn't know me very well.

I better get busy -- the North Pole calls and says I am way behind, but this year there is no stress, well, a teeny bit but that's okay. Let's go jingle some bells!