Our first Christmas in Colorado turned out to be a good one. We had a little bit of a rough start but all ended well and I was reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.
First off, I had built up this moment for weeks as I shopped for the boys and worked on all of my homemade projects. As a kid it was fantastic to wake up on Christmas morning to a living room full of gifts and stockings overflowing. The anticipation was so exciting. As an adult I think the excitement and anticipation is ten fold! I was positively giddy about seeing our kids open their gifts and experience the "magic" of Christmas morning. After all giving is better than receiving right?!
John had to work Christmas day so we decided that Santa was going to come one night early. So on Christmas Eve Eve we sat the kids down in the living room and let them open one gift, carrying on John's family tradition of getting a pair of jammies to wear to bed Christmas Eve. They were excited, and a little crazy, to open a package and loved their winter footies. Santa had sent mommy an email for Aaron so we watched it together and then they actually went down relatively easy.
The next morning John and I got up early and made sure everything was perfect. The kids got up around 7:30 and groggily walked into the living room. Of course they were happy to see the presents but Aaron just looked right past the wrapped "obvious" guitar and actually didn't even open it until everything else was opened. They were obsessed with the candy in the stockings. I think they would have tried every piece if they could! Ethan was thrilled with his mega blocks table - and so was Aaron!
They did enjoy opening gifts and eventually Aaron decided to open the gift from Santa. (We decided that Santa fills stockings and brings one gift for each kid.) I was most excited for this gift. Aaron had been talking about a guitar for months and he was sure that Santa would bring him one. I guess I was expecting him to be over the moon excited. Instead he opened in, strummed it a few times and then set it down. He didn't seem happy. When John asked him if he liked it he said, "NO!" So of course we did the whole "oh that's sad, maybe we should just put it away then." To which he said, "OK." Hmm.... not expecting that. We put it up and he didn't care. I was crushed. I tried to let it roll off my shoulders but we ended up having a conversation with him about being grateful and respectful. I was worried he would open gifts from other people with the same reaction and hurt others feelings.
Next up, breakfast. I made biscuits and gravy but it didn't quite turn out as well as Teresa's and neither of the kids ate it. On it's own, that wouldn't have bothered me but piled in with other events that day it was a little upsetting. I didn't plan a fancy dinner because I didn't want leftovers since we would be leaving the next day for a week. Instead we found ourselves in the car driving aimlessly for a place to grab some lunch. We had settled on Sonic when both kids fell asleep and I sort of lost it. Sonic? Who eats Sonic on Christmas? Now they wouldn't nap and the afternoon would be full of trying to occupy sleepy, cranky kids. (Now who's the cranky one right?) After I started to cry about not having a "special" dinner we headed home to try to transfer the kids to bed.
The whole day up to that point seemed to go all wrong. I had pictured this amazing first Christmas in "snowy" Colorado with just the 4 of us starting our own traditions. But I actually missed having people to go visit and the hustle and bustle of seeing family and sharing gifts. We headed home without getting lunch and I figured it was time to regroup. I sat in the tub while surprisingly the kids actually DID take a nap. I started thinking about the first Christmas and the gifts that God has given me. I wondered if God had ever felt about me the way I felt about Aaron's reaction to the gift we had given him. How many times have I "tossed" it aside like it was nothing. Especially on the day we celebrate the birth of that gift. Here I was focused on the material part of Christmas and though we read the Christmas story with our kids, I hadn't really taken a moment to thank God for the gift of my salvation. Or the gift of my husband, or my kids, or my family back in Kansas City. I had taken for granted all the precious things God has given me and tossed them aside like they were nothing or at least like I was entitled. I had said without words "oh that's nice" and went on with my day all but forgetting that these gifts were what Christmas was really about. When the kids got up we headed to Red Rocks Church for the Christmas service. It was a great service and helped me refocus. Why is it so easy to get caught up in the little things. A $25 toy guitar from the mall shouldn't have made me so upset.
Afterwards we drove around looking for some place to eat on Christmas Eve. Ha! Perkins was the winner but it didn't matter. We enjoyed our dinner and then headed up into the mountains to see the snow and look at lights. It was a little hairy driving in the mountains WHILE it was snowing but John never let on and we took our sweet time. The kids fell asleep and John and I just listened to Christmas music as the beautiful snow fell and ate our dessert we got to go from Perkins. It was the perfect end to our evening.