Momma’s 12 Days of Christmas Presents The Uterus Who Stole Christmas by Jen of Life on the SONny Side
Meet Jen…She’s living proof that working full-time and raising a tiny troublemaker is enough to make anyone totally crazy. She’s documenting all the ugly, terrifying, beautiful, hilarious, and heartwarming proof on her blog, Life on the SONny Side. She understands that writing on the internet is like whispering on a crowded playground. But, she does it anyway, because she loves it. Her supportive husband and son are the limes in her Corona. Her amazing mom is their live-in nanny. Coffee and wine are her sister wives. She writes about motherhood, daughterhood, life, love, and many other mildly interesting things. She thinks you’re awesome for reading this. Follow her on Twitter at @Jenniferpro.
Ask people what they hate most about the Holidays, and they’ll probably tell you that it’s the ugly face of consumerism. They’ll wax poetic about how disgusted they are that Target put their twinkling Christmas Trees up immediately adjacent to the Halloween display. They’ll complain about the busy shopping malls, abhorrent parking lots, the terrors of Black Friday, the pressure to find the latest annoying version of Elmo, and the materialism that overpowers the last two months of the year.
I respectfully disagree. I know that I’m probably pretty alone in this, but I have a newfound love for Christmas shopping.
Let me back up a bit, if I might. I’ve always loved this holiday. I was raised Catholic and my family usually attended midnight mass on Christmas Eve. I was a bleary-eyed girl, hypnotized by the beauty of nuns singing carols, well-dressed people holding hands with one other, and parents cradling sleeping babies in their laps. As tired as I was, the overwhelming spirit of love in that space was always palpable. The religious origins of this holiday were never lost on me.
However, the birth of baby Jesus aside, it was always mostly about family for me. It still is. I loved driving home from midnight mass together, voting on our favorite light displays along the way, and opening just one present together in the living room before heading off to bed to wait for Santa. My single mother’s modest means always made for a simple Christmas in the gift department, but that mostly didn’t matter. On Christmas morning, my sister and I would wake up and crowd the tiny, artificial tree in our apartment, admiring the vibrant paper, so anxious to share our meager, yet meaningful, gifts with one another. We’d lollygag our way through breakfast, saunter around in our pajamas all day, watching parades on TV, and gleefully play with our new toys.
When my sister and I grew up and moved out of the house, everything about our family Christmas changed. There’s something so distinctly different about Christmas sans kids, a lost magic that cannot be substituted or faked. We rarely acknowledged that magic when it was there, but we definitely knew when it was gone. The three of us eagerly, secretly, and silently fantasized about the day that our own children would help bring back the magic. For my sister, it happened pretty quickly. For me, not so much.
I would battle with infertility until I was 31. That made for a slew of holidays that I celebrated from the sidelines. Part of the beautiful voodoo of having children is the way that it allows you to relive so many of the truly great moments of your own childhood. Don’t get me wrong, the arrival of my nephew definitely did put some fire back into our dwindling holiday spirit, but it didn’t change the fact that my husband and I still longed to hang our own tiny stocking on the chimney with care. We would smile through more than half -dozen difficult Christmases. We would dodge the toy aisle and open family photo greeting cards from friends with jealousy and self-pity. We would drink our way through holiday parties (and by “we” in that last one, I meant “I”). Our Christmas magic went unmistakably missing as my uncooperative uterus yelled, “Bah Humbug!” year after year. We battled our inner Scrooges and still spoiled one other rotten. We made sure to donate items toToys for Tots and supported local Goodfellows campaigns to make sure that local children in need felt the generosity and excitement of the season, even though ours was lacking. Our biggest wish continued to have the ability to play Santa Claus to our own child.
In 2011, our wish was granted. Leo joined our ranks three weeks premature, on Mother’s Day (I know, right?!). My Christmas spirit was also miraculously reborn on that marvelous day in May. No joke, I probably started shopping for him in June. I’m sure you can probably imagine how ridiculous our tree looked last December. I made sure to capture photographic evidence of how overboard we went. I am unashamed.
Am I spoiling him? Absolutely. Will we always go this overboard? I can’t say for sure. I only know that I am unapologetically happy and infinitely grateful.
While the makings of a total nightmare for some, waiting in line for an hour to buy a silly toy among hundreds of impatient and exhausted mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and grandparents is, for me, quite literally, a dream come true. This commerce-driven ritual, which I understand may seem materialistic to those who believe I’m missing the point, will always be symbolic of the ultimate gift that the universe so graciously gave to me.
Years from now, on a cold December day, when Leo is old enough to understand, I will tell him the tale of ‘The Boy Who Saved Christmas’. I’ll probably cry a little, ’cause that’s how I roll. I hope he loves it as much as I do. And I hope that he feels the magic of our incredible little family during the holidays – and everyday – the way I do now.
And, if you catch me counting the shopping days until Christmas, roll your eyes if you’d like. For me, it will always be a reminder of my own little miracle. And if that’s good for local business, then so be it.
“And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville, they say – that her uterus grew her a baby that day! And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and that Mama found her lost Christmas Magic – Woo Hoo!”
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