Sunday, December 27, 2009
After a much needed 8.5 hours of sleep on Christmas Eve, I sat in my hospital bed enjoying the darkened silence of the room. I considered sleeping past 6:30, since this will be last opportunity to do so for many Christmases to come. At least another 10 or 15 years, by my conservative estimate. But I wasn’t sure I want to take advantage of that. Besides, stuck in a hospital room for weeks, I needed to have something to look forward to. Something to make me giddy. The last few weeks have been so weird - not living with my husband or dog, or even my cat!; taking everything one day at a time, grateful for each day that I'm still pregnant, particularly since I've had a few close calls, including one that canceled my baby shower (my last remaining hope for some activity or item resembling a "normal pregnancy”) and another last week that got me the closest to delivery I've been, yet. Nope. I chose to be giddy and rise early to celebrate. Even if it was just me in my bed for a few hours, before Honey came.
I listened to Christmas music on my laptop and thought of Christmases past. Until I was about 12, we'd spend Christmas Eve at my grandparents' house. All, or most, of my moms' siblings would come, so the house was throbbing with cousins. My family would go to our church's candlelight service, usually over by 6 or 6:30 and then join the festivities in progress at Grandma's. It was loud, fun and largely unstructured. We'd eat tamales, rice and beans and chow on deserts. The kitchen was a traffic circle. Around 8:30 or 9, we'd open gifts and things would wind down around 10:30 or 11, when the cousins would start to head to bed and we'd head back home. Sometimes, this ritual would be in Dallas, at one of my uncles' houses, but it was pretty much the same deal. Christmas morning was just for our immediate family, opening our own gifts and Mom would make quiche. Her annual Christmas quiche brunch. We were never a "Christmas dinner" kind of family. We were a Christmas brunch family.
I’m wondering what future Christmases will be like with the new little one. This time next year, our kid will be just shy of a year old, so we might be chasing his/her little waddling bottom out of the kitchen, while Honey bakes up dozens and dozens of delicious cookies and he and I make chocolate truffles together.
My sister-in-law lives nearby and we more often than not spend Christmas and/or Thanksgiving with her and her family.
Her kids are way older than ours: high school and entering junior high soon, so I’m not sure what kind of relationship this kid will have with them. We’ve never spent Christmas or Thanksgiving with Honey’s father, since we’ve been together, to my knowledge. We’ve done a few with his mom and a couple with my family. But nothing that really establishes tradition. I suppose we still have a few years to figure that out. I’d just really like our kid(s) to have fond memories of playing with cousins and singing carols and eating traditional foods that they have memories of watching us prepare and grow up to want to learn to make. You know: like I had! (Side note: I tasked my mother with getting my grandmother’s tamale recipe, so I can learn to make them for Christmases future. Honey has perfected her pico de gallo, so if I can just make a passable version of her tamales, maybe we can at least keep the Mexican Christmas dinner tradition going.)
This barely felt like a regular Christmas this year. Even though we got a foot of snow. (Almost none of which I could see from my hospital window, as it looks into a courtyard!) This Christmas, my every thought has been on the safety of the little creature growing inside me. This Christmas, my focus has been on staying pregnant for one more hour, one more day; knowing that each day, each week means a healthier baby. I have no emotional or mental room for anything else, frankly. Just keeping this kid safe and incubating. I have my own drama to worry about.
Normally, we’ve got the house decorated by early December, holiday music wafts throughout the house, the kitchen smells of sugar and butter as Honey is constantly baking. I’m writing our Christmas cards and mailing them out to loved ones. And we’re scrambling to get gifts for family (my least favorite part of Christmas – consumer “obligation”). This year, my hospital room has received most of the decorations (for which I am grateful), and the house, none, as Honey has taken to preparing the house for the arrival of our little winter babe. Even though I have a chunk of Christmas music on my laptop, I’ve not listened to it enough. Mostly because it’s awkward to fetch my laptop when lying from a 33 degree angle. We’d not been able to go any Christmas parties, holiday shows or movies of the season. We celebrated in our own way, though. And all things considered, this was one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a long time. Just because Honey is so fantastic and it reminds me what my priorities are. And the visits from friends I got on Christmas day just added a luster to the day that I won’t soon forget.
One thing we know for sure: next Christmas will be far different from this Christmas. We’ll be out in public again. The house will be decorated. The music will be playing and David Sedaris stories playing and the kitchen will smell of Honey’s magic. Christmas cards will go out (yes, probably with baby pictures in them). But there will be an extra energy in the house. An extra layer of happiness. And I have a feeling that once that happiness fills the house, we’ll struggle to remember what it was like without it. Kind of like how empty and slightly sad the house feels when our dog is not there. When Babydog is out for the night, I’m always sad a little, and struggle to remember what it was like without her joy filling the house. All I know is that our house wasn’t complete until she came along, even though we didn’t know it (okay I kind of knew it would be, having had dogs before). I suspect it’ll be the same with the kid. And we’re very much looking forward to discovering that unknown joy and rediscovering the joys of a celebrate season with this kid!
I hope Christmas, or your respective holidays found you happy and well this year. Have a fantastic 2010!
… and I apologize for not reading your blogs in a LOOONNG time. In addition to my general tendency to procrastinate, I’ve been limiting my laptop time in the hospital, so I’ve fallen waayy behind. I can’t promise I’ll catch up real soon, but I’ll try my darnedest!