Sunday, December 2, 2007

'Twas the Night Before ...

The magic of Christmas had been missing for so long I didn't even know it existed; I didn't know what I was missing. Marrying a little later in life has so many advantages, yet so many disadvantages. Living alone, I grew used to holidays being about one day, the single moment of the year when the spirit comes alive as family gathers.

Then, during my Infertile Years, Christmas became especially difficult; we didn't even put up a tree the second year.

And, while we celebrated our first Christmas as a family last year, there was no magic -- it was just a regular day of cleaning up spit up and changing diapers. I was still sleep deprived. I was still achingly new as a mother, as a woman with children. I wanted to see past the hard work and find the magic, but it escaped my fingertips.

I started to think that no holiday, birthdays included, were ever going to be magical again, that every day was just going to be hard, emotionally draining work.

And then something magical happened a week ago.

Overnight on November 22nd, the spirit of it all came alive within me.

It started as we drove through a special Christmas Lights Display on our way home on Thanksgiving. The girls were impressed by the colored lights on the trees -- blues, purples, red, white, green.

After four hard days, I woke on Monday morning feeling different. I didn't know it then, but later, while driving in the car with the tots bundled up in their seats behind me, Christmas songs were playing on the radio. I didn't turn them on, but there they were.

I turned up the music, and Jadyn and Liana started dancing and smiling.

A Monday, a regular day, suddenly was filled with magic. And, despite some terribly bad moments that this mom with twins endured, we've had similar moments since, and most involved putting on Christmas carols and singing and dancing.

Yesterday, as we put up our tree -- with help from my visiting mom, grandmother and aunt -- I started to understand that the spirit may have always been with me, but I never saw reason to bring it out, to help it come alive. Until now, I always felt like I was pretending, playing out a character in a movie that never made it to the theaters.

Last night, as Dan hung the lights on our tree and the girls danced around, touching each and every one, something else happened.

"I finally see the purpose in this holiday," I told him. "Do you?"

"Yes, it's dancing around the tree right now," he answered.

Then we proceeded to do what we've never done before in our lives.

We hung lights on our windows. Later today we'll display our newly discovered spirit, publicly, for the first time ever by hanging lights on our balcony.

Letting the world know that the magic has returned to us.

That we believe, again.

Thank you for visiting today.

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Shelli said...

This touched me, Shawn. Probably because I've felt similar feelings.

If you haven't heard Sarah McLachlan's X-mas CD, Wintersong, it's fabulous. It is helping me get into the spirit.

Candace & Anna said...

The JOY of Christmas is an amazing thing. It is almost tangible the kids seem to make it even more so. Hold on to your feelings of the Christmas spirit and enjoy the wonderous ride. This is an amazing holiday when you do it through a childs eyes!

Not the Mama said...

I'm in single mode again and don't imagine I'll even put up a tree. I can't say that I miss it, though. Sad, I guess, but true.

Last year, I was all over the continental U.S., from Chicago south, and I'm glad to have a break from it all, as well as all the people.

Now, give me another week or two, and I may well be crying in my (spiked) eggnog, embarking upon a new and exciting career in alcoholism, but right now, as I'm not surrounded by anything at all Christmasy much, it's not big deal.

Give me another week or two, and again, I may be into crowds then: Jack and Jim and Sam (Daniels, Beam and Adams, respectively, though I do so hate to names drop). Right now, though...

Yep, you guessed it, I'm all good. :-D ...or bad, depending upon how you look at it, I guess.

Congrats on rediscovering yourself.

village mama said...

Thank you for sharing such personal words, publically.

It is pure beauty to watch children dance - pure energy in beautiful kiddie form. Wishing you many, many more moments of magic.

bella said...

What a welcome return.
We talk about creating magic for our kids, somehow giving it to them. really, they bring it to us.

LauraC said...

So glad you were able to find your way back... I feel quite the same, last holiday we were dealing with 4 ear infections, two colds, and countless worries. It did not feel like Christmas at all. Now I'm feeling super Christmasy!

RocketMom said...

Beautiful. I feel very conflicted this time of year, but I still want my children to feel the magic. I'm glad you found some for yourselves.

Shawn said...

Thanks to everyone for chiming in on this post. I wasn't planning it, but sometimes life just unfolds and it's up to me to be awake to see the highlights.

Rocketmom: I'm not sure why you're conflicted, but Bella's post on Santa Claus really helped me find my way through this year. I think I get it and my daughters will, too.

Candace, Laura -- So glad you see the magic this year, too.

Not the Mama: I told you this, personally, but enjoy the simplicity this year. For you, I'm sure, your single life will not last.

Not the Mama said...

*big smile* You're a looker, so I'll take that as a compliment! Oh, who am I kidding, I'm so dude-stupid and vain, I'd take it anyway! Ha. LOL :-)

You know what, as an aside, I think I coined dude-stupid. I've never heard it before me, anyway. True story!

Wonderful post, though, seriously. More via email to you soon. DSL was atrocious here yesterday and today, too, it looks like. There's apparently a network outage of some sort. The "new" AT&T... yeah, right, with a bunch of "new" problems to harass consumers with.

RocketMom said...

Conflicted ... that's one of those posts I hope to get to soon. But, I'll give you a hint: Hannukah starts tonight.

storyteller said...

What a poignant piece of writing and timely reminder how what's been lost can be found, often when least expected ... a blessed message for the Christmas season. Welcome back to joy and wonder!
Hugs and blessings,