Vivi has this way of fitting against me as I rock her at night, it’s going to be one of the things I miss the absolute most as she gets bigger and more independent. One of the things I ached for the most when I was trying to get pregnant again was to hold a little sleeping body, I’ve never put a sleeping Vivi down before I was ready. I can remember times when I simply couldn’t bring myself to put her down, so I didn’t — and I don’t regret a single hour spent with her little sleeping body in my arms. Holding a sleeping toddler is like holding a sleeping wild animal, it has all the potential to kill you where you stand — but while it sleeps it’s peaceful.

Addie's 9th Birthday Party

There’s this powerful feeling that comes with caring for a little human (which can also be terrifying and all encompassing if you think about it too much.) You are their safe place, their home base. When the snow is falling, the wind is blowing and the temperature is so cold outside snot freezes on contact, you can hold them in your arms and keep them safe and warm — they don’t have to worry about windchill and tomorrow’s forecast because they have you. Even though Addie is now nine and composed entirely of long, bony limbs, I’m still one of her greatest comforts. The amount of gratitude I feel that Cody and I can provide a warm, safe home and family for these little girls is what begins my prayers every night.

I’m beginning to think that many of my neighbors keep their Christmas lights out year round not because it’s 2 degrees outside and they’re kind of lazy, but because they give a warm glow to an otherwise chilly and often dark landscape. As much fun as I had in LA  two weeks ago, it just wasn’t the same without (real) snow. At this exact moment I’m sitting by the fire covered in cats and basking in the glow of Christmas lights hanging from my mantle. I was never much for decorating at Christmas until we owned our own house, and after four years we have December down to a traditional science. The little girls each have an advent they attend to each day and every Sunday we watch a different Christmas movie. The car is nothing but Christmas music thanks to satellite radio and the house always smells like some sort of baked good (today was carrot cake and corn bread.)

Last week we all bundled up to build a snowman and worked together to build a pretty sweet snow fort. It was a bittersweet moment where we were the perfect little family I had always wanted to be a part of growing up. Today Vivi ran around the house with a string of bells yelling ‘JINGLE BELLS, CATS! JINGLE! BELLS!” She randomly breaks out into festive songs and Addie has taken to wrapping anything that even remotely resembles a gift. “You’re sending that check to the electric company? THAT’S KIND OF LIKE A PRESENT! LET ME WRAP IT!”

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This year Addie has gotten into the giving groove, we even chose a family to play secret Santa to and Addie has been in heaven wrapping dozens of little gifts that we will leave on their doorstep on Christmas Eve. She insists that every single gift be adorned with ribbon and a bow and she takes great pride in how far her wrapping skills have come this year. Vivi, the constant observer has taken on a fondness for wrapping as well, in fact there’s two plastic plates and a wad of bubble wrap under the tree right now — wrapped, taped, and tied up with ribbon in a way only a toddler could.

Vivi wrapped a plastic plate for you, not to spoil it - but she's wrapping bubble wrap next.

With Wink’s recent vet trip I realized I like this place where I’m at, I like that I can make him feel better. I like that I can give gifts to my friends, family and a few strangers along the way. While it’s often unheralded, I like that I can give my kids simple comforts so they can go about being kids — not having to worry about hunger and homelessness. Maybe it doesn’t mean much to them now, but maybe someday it will. I like being the giver — all that time I spent so stressed out about what to give my parents when I was younger, I have to believe that they too at some point crossed over into enjoying being the giver more than the receiver.

Maybe we all do?

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I’m so thankful to be partnering with Hallmark during the holiday season on a series of sponsored posts to talk about all the little ways this season can bring us together and allow us to look at life and our relationships in a new way. Save $5 on your $10 purchase in stores now with this printable coupon.

 

Comments

  1. I love the sentiment of appreciating being the giver. In the midst of feeling like ‘ack am I spending so much money?!’ it’s a nice reminder to appreciate that we have it to spend, and can always make more.

    Merry Christmas to you, Cody and those beautiful girls.

  2. i love that they’re excited about wrapping presents. that is my very favorite part of christmas!!