Olivia let out a cough from her swing the other day that immediately set off every “Mom alarm” my brain has been installing since she came into this world. Darrin has been battling a sore throat and a stuffy nose for days, and it turns out that Olivia likes sharing not only her looks with her father but also his affinity for common seasonal colds. Poor baby. I spent all afternoon trying to suction snot from her nose with a suction bulb that I’m convinced somehow gave her super baby strength. I didn’t know she could whip her head so passionately from left to right in anger. But suction that snot we did, and the looks she gave me afterwards with her red, watery eyes were enough to break my already aching heart.
Being sick at Christmas is the worst, but I think being sick at your first Christmas here on earth is its own kind of terrible. And honestly doesn’t fit the serene, “first Christmas” scene I had imagined in my mind.
We’ve been loving a lot of “firsts” with this girl: first giggles…first smiles…first signs of her little voice. But we’ve experienced a few other “firsts” that I’m sure all moms experience but never seem to acknowledge, probably because they’re also the “first” thing you hope to forget about the next day. Moments like the first time this girl tired and angry screamed/cried/wailed at me for an hour while I simultaneously wanted to both cry and crawl into a deep hole somewhere to hide from my parenting responsibilities. Or the first time I brought her to a public restroom changing table with a full diaper and left the diaper wipes in the car (#MomMcGyver). Then there was our first trip to Target, which was spent wandering down aisles with bright and baby-distracting lights rather than the aisles we actually needed to browse because sweet baby Olivia decided to morph into her fussy alter-ego. It was the first time I found myself appreciating those flashy, almost seizure-inducing Christmas bulbs.
I’ve been discovering what all new mom’s probably discover at some point during their baby’s first few months: most of the time, this whole “motherhood” thing is made up of moments that are less carefully curated and more just me flying by the seat of my sweatpants. Encountering and dealing with “firsts” I certainly didn’t imagine.
But how fitting? To have this little “Mom-epiphany” at Christmastime. Certainly the first Christmas was something unexpected. A king born amidst the filth of a stable. If I was a character in the Charlie Brown universe, I’m convinced that Linus would wander onstage, deliver the Christmas story, and then turn to me and say, “See? Encountering joy in the unimaginable is what Christmas is all about, Grace.”
So. Sick with the stuffies or not, we’re looking forward to celebrating our first Christmas as a family of three. And you can bet that we’ll be taking the season’s “tidings of comfort and joy” tagline very seriously, which, this year, translates to a bottle of cold medicine and time spent with family. Hopefully you’ll find moments of comfort and joy in places unimaginable this year too.
Merry Christmas! With love, Darrin, Grace, and Olivia