Writing posts at the end of the year, after precious days of close family moments, feels a bit like filling a time capsule with the last special things you want to remember before closing the cap. As Brett and I fulfilled our Christmas morning parent duties, satisfyingly smiling at their squeals of delight, there were seconds where we caught each other’s eyes. We didn’t need to say anything; it was understood. Did you see that? Wasn’t that precious? How funny is she? Oh God, she’s getting so big.
My friend Colette expressed the perfect explanation to me earlier this year of why supporting Down syndrome cognition and memory research is so important to her for her son, Dex. “All my memories–the things that make me laugh, moments with family, holidays, vacations–it’s a scrapbook in my brain, something I always have to go back to later in life,” she explained. “If I’m ever sad or want to smile, I can remember all those times, like flipping through snapshots in a scrapbook. I want Dex to have a scrapbook too.”
That’s what these pictures are. And what these stored images in my brain are that keep making me smile every time I think of them.
Those long swishy nightgowns that were perfectly too big enough to make my girls look smaller.
And crayon-drawn letters with big spaces between them. High pitched “How do you spell Santa?” pleas because it’s probably the last year she’ll ask. And another year of reindeer food and watching the sky and staring at two sisters sound asleep together on the night before Christmas.
Our Christmas Scrapbook:
Late Christmas Eve, my dad and Gary installed this amazing fairy garden in our front landscaping. It is just as much a gift for me as it was for my girls. There’s even a hand-painted castle with flags for each of my babies.
And then morning. Being awakened by a soft little tap-tap-tap on my back. An excited whisper. Can we go see if Santa was here? Lainey knows the Christmas drill now. She waits patiently in bed with Daddy while I go turn on the tree lights and make a pot of coffee and turn on Nat King Cole and light candles and make just enough noise to wake Nella and Poppa, and the boys quickly follow.
My favorite part of Christmas? When the morning spills over into complete calm. Everyone finds a different corner of the house, kids play with new toys, adults rest on couches, the mess on the living room floor dissolves into the setting and everything is quiet and happy and good. I collapsed on the couch late morning, not intending to sleep, but I fell into one of those half awake naps where my eyes were closed and my brain was off duty but I was very aware that I was smiling and listening to the girls’ chatter while they tested out new toys.
Likewise, the afternoon delivered with more grandparents and more love. More scrapbook pages. And a honey baked ham.
We’re still in vacation mode. And feeling so thankful for family and home.
To scrapbooks being filled with much love. Chin-Chin.