Christmas is here. Most of the presents are wrapped. Cookies are baked. Marshmallows and toffee candies are made. Christmas music is playing while I prepare Pecan Sticky buns for tomorrow's breakfast and I'm anxiously waiting for Bean to wake up so we can decorate Christmas cookies. Will this be an annual tradition? I can't say. I feel like there are so many new possible traditions that spring up every year, that I'm hesitant to start adding new traditions. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself, but also I feel that If I'm overbooking weekends and rushing from one Santa to another than Bean isn't going to be able to enjoy the holiday either.
This year, we went upstate and cut down our own Christmas tree shortly after Thanksgiving. The money we saved in purchasing our previous year's Christmas trees was mostly spent on gas but the experience of being in the mountains and walking around and selecting our tree from hundreds made it special. Bean was more interested in all the leaves on the ground and in the gravel driveway than the actual trees. I'm sure this will change over time. She had her first hot cocoa which she readily accepted and held onto as if it were made of gold. Each sip revealed a tremendous smile as if she was surprised by the sweet chocolate powers held within in that tiny Styrofoam cup. I want that smile to become a tradition.
We went to the Turtle Back Zoo to see the Christmas lights. We walked around the mostly empty zoo, bundled up in scarves, mittens and hats. Bean happily sat and J's shoulders pointing out the different animals constructed of Christmas lights. Most of the zoo's residents were mysteriously absent, probably in Florida but every animal Bean did see elicited a "Whoah! Look at that guy!" We found a carousel, and Bean rode a zebra with her dad protectively standing behind her. The look on her face was one of pure delight. I stood outside the ride watching and waving each time she passed and I had this amazing warm feeling watching her. I suddenly remembered all those times my own mother watched me ride the carousel or swings and the joy that I felt when I found her smiling face in the crowd. Watching my daughter's glee as she went up and down, I knew how my mom felt watching me and I couldn't help but feel her love, though long gone, resonating through the generations.
Last night, we ventured into the city for dinner with my family and the New York City Christmas Spectacular, an experience that I was dreading. Dinner was scheduled at 5:00 PM, the show was at 8:00 PM, Bean's bedtime is at 7:30 PM. You do the math. Any way I looked at it, there would be a meltdown. Well, we had our own Christmas miracle. Bean was an angel throughout the long dinner, even using the potty twice. And when the curtain went up, Bean was mesmerized by the dancers, the Rockette's, the bears wearing tutus and of course all the Santas. Her only complaint? That there was only one astronaut (They had one dance dressed as a rocket from the 1960's that sort of resembled an astronaut's uniform). Bean sat on my lap watching the show and clapping. Everything, from the size of the auditorium to the chandelier in the atrium amazed her, and watching her joyous face melted my own humbug heart about missed bedtimes.
And today is Christmas Eve, more memories and traditions to create and I'm grateful for every single one!