Chevy Chase could explain it better than me. He’s in the attic in a turban watching footage of Christmases gone by. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” anyone? Watch his face during that scene. Tears and grimaces.
Christmas is a mixed bag for most of us. It carries the weight and joy of the birth of Jesus along with the memories of however many Christmases have passed.
Little kid Christmases usually rock. You remember leaving cookies for Santa and that one time you got that one thing you desperately wanted. This year Cora keeps telling people she wants a pig. A pig. Too much Old MacDonald? Regardless, I can guarantee she’ll have a stuffed snout nosing its way out from under the tree.
Grownup Christmases come with logistics. Whose house are we driving/flying/teleporting (if only) to? Did we get all the presents? Did we get the matching clothes for the requisite family picture? Did we get extra clothes because we had better not mess up the originals?
For me, Christmas brings the memory of finding out we were having twins. That image of two little people on the screen is always in lo-fi in my mind’s eye. It was trippy. There was also that Christmas that we announced to our families that Charlie was a boy. I made Pinterest-worthy mini chocolate cupcakes filled with blue icing. It took me four hours and cost a year of my life. Never again. But the celebration was epic.
I will also remember that not long after this, with our toes barely into January, we found out that something was wrong with Charlie. We had breezed through the anatomy scan, assuming that the hardest part in our journey was getting pregnant and the rest would take care of itself.
They noticed his tongue sticking out on the next ultrasound. And because a few femur and abdomen measurements were off, they sent me directly to a maternal fetal medicine specialist. Do not pass go. Do not collect your normally developing child at the end of this game. He was not officially diagnosed with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome until March and we would not know that he would be born at thirty weeks. Christmas, for me, brings with it all the knowledge of what was to come for him and us. Honestly, I think it is a blessing that Mary did not know until later what she would have to watch her baby go through.
So during this Christmas season, as we pray about whether or not to get pregnant again and think about our upcoming consultation with the doctor, I am choosing to give thanks for all the memories, both the good and the hard, because they have made this family what it is today. I will also go shopping for a pig.