Last year A was stillborn in mid-October so we’ve already survived all the “first” holidays. Despite having those initial holidays and an entire year under my belt, I am still torn up over the holidays this year. American Thanksgiving was recently and the Christmas onslaught has already begun. Last year A would have been a mushy blob of an infant – approximately 1-month old for Thanksgiving and 2-months old for Christmas. Significant for it being his first and for it being our first as a family. Honestly, I don’t think the kid would have cared one way or other what we did or who was present.
But this year, this year he’d be 13- and 14-months old. We’d be lugging his highchair to various Thanksgiving feasts where he’d practice feeding himself and be intrigued by the texture of the mashed potatoes squishing through his fingers. I’d make E pose for a family photo with all three of us dressed nicely, knowing that A would soon be covered in squash and such. Instead of being the lump of a baby who gets passed around all night, he’d be fidgety and want to get down and play, walk and explore; trying to catch my aunt’s cat. The only baby at the gathering and delighting in all the attention.
Christmas I surely would have bought him more than he needed. Christmas morning I’d try to coax him into opening presents but his sweet 14-month-old mind doesn’t understand the concept and he’s more interested in the flashing lights on the tree, goofing with his Daddy and playing with the colorful discarded wrapping paper. Regardless, E would have the video camera rolling the entire time as we enjoyed a leisurely morning in our PJs. Then off to two separate family get togethers. We’d dress A in some ridiculous toddler-sized sweater vest and corduroys. Again A would be oblivious to the concept of Christmas but would revel in the big group of loving family members gathered and adoring him. My mother and aunts would try to wrestle him into sitting still for photos and try to cajole him into opening presents but he’s far more interested in playing with my cousin’s 3- and 5-year-old even if they dress him up like a princess.
The last quarter of the year has thus far been very intense. It begins with the changing of the seasons, then A’s birthday in October, next Halloween and just as I’m getting back on my feet, Thanksgiving is here and Christmas is around the corner. I feel like I’m waist-deep in the ocean getting knocked down by the powerful waves. Each time I resurface to gasp for air another wave is right on top of me pummeling me downward.