A Few of My Favorite Things – Volume I

The halls (both inside and out) have been decked, the Christmas cards and shopping are almost done and our scout elf, Shelf, as named by Clara, has been watching over the girls for almost a week. We are in the thick of the holiday season and I’m loving every minute of it. In order to set the mood further, I illuminate the tree and garlands, light a seasonally appropriate scented candle and turn up the all-holiday satellite radio station (yes, I’m one of those people). Seeing as the holidays only last for a short period of time, I try to get into them as much as possible (cue my frazzled self as I mentally make a list of what’s left to do and how much time is really left to get all of it done).

Each year, Clara becomes more and more enraptured by the magic of Christmas. And, as I’ve been saying each year for the past three years, this is the year she finally “gets it.” (I know, I know, next year, I’ll be caught saying the same, tired thing.) We’ve been talking up Santa for weeks. She knows what he looks like and that sometime in the near future he’s going to be visiting our house and leaving her and Elyse presents. When you ask Clara what she wants Santa to bring her, she immediately replies, “Presents.” With further prodding, she’ll admit that she wants purple or rainbow presents. (Note to self: Must find purple or rainbow wrapping paper.)

As the holidays draw closer, I, too, find myself getting caught up in the spirit of the season. Although Christmas is filled with its own unique stressors (i.e. cards, shopping, decorating, entertaining, visiting, etc.), it is also the one time of year when overindulgence is not only tolerated, but also encouraged. For some reason, the sight of trees covered in twinkling lights and beautifully wrapped packages cause people to smile more and stress a little less. And as I drove to and from our weekly music class today, spying homes decorated with bows and ribbons and lights and glitter, I began to think about the feelings that this time of year rouses in me. Thus, for the next few weeks, I’ve decided to reflect on some of my favorite things. As my life has dramatically changed with the addition of a second daughter this year, I thought that it would be fitting to end 2012 ruminating on those things that are invaluable to me.

Before I had children, the types of things that topped my favorites list were: A glass of white wine, chocolate and peanut butter in any possible combination, spending time with those near and dear, etc. This year, I am so blessed to add the following — watching my two daughters enjoy one another’s company. Now that Elyse can sit up on her own and interact with her older sister, I have had the unique privilege of watching them play together on a daily basis. And let me tell you, for a woman who was probably never supposed to bear a child (no thanks to obstacles such as cancer and NAIT), there is no greater joy in my life than watching my children play. Whenever Elyse’s face lights up at the sight of her sister or Clara takes a moment to encourage or instruct her younger sibling, I can feel myself smiling both inside and out. As they are only just over two years apart, my greatest hope is to watch my girls conspire against Taylor and I when they are grounded, borrow one another’s clothes (with permission, of course) and grow into the closest of friends. Having a sister is one of life’s most precious gifts and I feel so blessed that I got the chance to give this gift to Clara and Elyse.

Last year at this time, I was busy trying to balance the end-of-the semester rush, my weekly IVIG infusions and rearing my then two-year-old. Today, as I tried to keep my cool when within a short-span of 15 minutes, I dropped a gallon of milk (which broke open), Clara got into a box of Christmas decorations and spilled a package of those toxic beads (the ones they put in packages to prevent moisture) all over the couch and then decided to color on the dining room chair while in time-out for the aforementioned offense, I thought back to what life was like just a mere 12 months ago. In the aftermath of the chaos, I took a deep breath and imagined a life without spilled milk, toxic bead spills and crayon stains. Sure, in the moment I wished that Calgon would have taken me away, but when the dust settled, I spied the twinkling lights and beautifully wrapped packages and knew that I was exactly where I was suppossed to be.

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