Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Best Christmas Present Ever

Christmas presents are such a magical thing, aren't they? Nowadays, I'm much more excited about giving the gifts I've accumulated over the course of the year to their recipients than getting my own gifts, but it's still an enormous thrill to open my Christmas presents and see what's inside.

Over the years, I've gotten some incredible special presents. There were the silver gingerbread-man earrings from Ronnie about fifteen years ago, which I still wear every Christmas Day, for example. She was just so proud of them, and so visibly excited to give them to me. In 1994 or so, there was the American Girl doll I'd wished for all year, courtesy of my grandparents, who were also so happy to see how much joy it brought me. (Are you sensing a theme yet?)

While I've gotten many a wonderful Christmas present in my life, there's one present that stands head and shoulders above the rest: the best Christmas present ever.

On Christmas Day 2008, I was home for winter break during my second year of grad school, and just about everybody was there: Grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Everyone was having a great time eating, singing as much of the Twelve Days of Christmas as they could remember (so: not much -- we're all pretty lousy at remembering lyrics), and then eating more. We had so many people in the house that it was kind of hard to move, and so much food that we ended up using Mom-Mom's fridge to store things that wouldn't fit in our own fridge. In other words, it was a typical Christmas at my house.

Filled with characters like these!

Sidebar: whenever I tell the story of the best day of my life, I qualify it by saying 'it's the best day of my life where nobody was born.' As the oldest in my generation on my mom's side, I spent seven years waiting for a sibling to come along, and five more agonizing years before my first baby cousin was born. (She was totally worth the wait!) In 2008, I'd been living the high life for over a decade: two younger cousins living four blocks from my parents, a sister who was finally emerging from the nightmare of young teenager-hood and becoming a peer, two step cousins close to my own age, and the best aunts and uncles ever. But even then, we didn't have it all: my uncle Ira and his wife Elise hadn't yet had kids. Ira is one of the best guys you'll ever meet, and I knew he and E would be fabulous parents when the time came. So I waited patiently. You can probably guess where this is going...

When things were winding down (aka the decibel level in the house had settled somewhere between 'house party' and '30-year-old lawnmower'), my uncle Ira asked for everyone's attention. I was standing next to my aunt Cheryl, and in that moment of silence before Ira spoke, we *knew* (and the tears started to fall before Ira could continue). Sure enough: a new cousin was on the way! With the exception of Ronnie (who doesn't cry) and Cheryl's husband Wayne (also doesn't cry,) there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Cheryl and I just sort of collapsed into a pile of All the Feelings. It felt like an honest-to-god Christmas miracle.

When Morgan was born, he was perfect, and seven years on, he's grown into the sweetest, most loving little boy you'll ever meet. He was one of the ring bearers in my wedding, and when his mom took him shopping for his little suit, he was so excited that he told every single person in the shop that his cousin was getting married and he was going to be in the wedding. (I just about teared up when his mom told me that.) At the wedding, he guided my twin three-year-old godchildren down the aisle so sweetly, and he's just so patient and kind to them every time he sees them. (This after a rocky first meeting with my goddaughter, in which he saw her and said 'what is that?!?' It got better!) He is a bouncy, happy boy who's always ready with a hug for his family.

From the moment I found out he was on the way, I knew I'd love him, but dang, this kid has totally exceeded expectations! So with apologies to my Samantha doll (Christmas 1993) and my gingerbread-man earrings (2001ish), I've gotta say that the news about Morgan's impending arrival takes the cake for the best Christmas present ever.

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  1. Awww this such a sweet post! I hope that you and your family had an amazing Christmas :)

    Sarah | What Sarah Writes

    1. Thank you so much -- we absolutely did have an amazing Christmas! Morgan even tried the standing rib roast I made, which was a surprise to me. Hope you and yours had a great Christmas as well!