We haven’t gotten many Christmas cards this year. We, actually are not sending them either- I think Facebook, and the “connections” we make there have convinced people that once a year communication through Christmas cards is no longer so meaningful, or maybe it is the cost of sending all those cards all over the country. For us, it was a combination of the two things…. Despite the fact that we aren’t sending them, I still really enjoy receiving Christmas cards. I was looking at the few cards we did receive and smiling at the smiling faces pictured on them. I loved the picture from our friends who welcomed their third child this year, a baby girl to join their two boys. And, the picture from our friends who had their second child two days before we had our fifth. Their son, who last year was a tiny baby, is now a toddler sitting big and proud on his mommy’s lap in the picture. It is amazing how quickly time flies, a fact that always seems to hit me hard on my children’s birthdays. It hit me pretty hard again this morning, looking at my Christmas cards and realizing that, like my friends’ children, my children are growing and changing so quickly.
It was just last year that our Christmas card picture included a tiny, little infant sleeping in festive red p.j.’s. This year, getting her to sit still long enough for a picture is a monumental feat. It was two short years ago that, just days before Christmas, we found out she was coming and announced to her sisters and brothers on Christmas Eve that the best gift would be coming in nine months. Now, of course, she is here and enjoying the wonder of the holidays like only a toddler can. She is fascinated by it all. The candles on the Advent wreath that she loves to “foof” at reminding us that the real purpose of candles is to blow them out (or so say her siblings who get an incredible thrill in the blowing out of candles). The tree glittering brightly in the family room, full of amazing new “toys” that she desperately wants to get her hands on. The Christmas cookies we have been making for the last week, and especially licking the spatula after mommy is done mixing with it. She has had a perpetual chocolate moustache for a week now. Next weekend, we will visit Santa for pictures and then, of course, there are all the gifts that are coming on Christmas morning.
What joy our little one has brought to our Advent preparations. My older children have stopped believing in all the magic of the season but through their baby sister are able to experience and enjoy a new sort of magic- the pure delight of her youth and the awe in her little eyes. All of the sudden the traditions they have known all their lives are a new and special experience as they share them with the little sister they all adore. We took them out to see some of the more spectacular Christmas lights displays in the area the other evening and the older kids had such a great time pointing out all the beautiful decorations to the baby. “Look at the light up duckies,” they screeched. “Do you see cute little seals in the front yard?” they asked excitedly as she took it all in completely expressionless. Even our five year old, who still firmly believes in all the magic is enjoying sharing it with his little sister. He has explained how Santa works to her. How she must behave if she wants toys on Christmas morning and how Santa will deliver them only if she is sleeping.
Though we were sure not sending Christmas cards this year was the right decision, I am starting to reconsider now. What a beautiful moment in time they capture. A moment that will be just a memory before we know it…