I love Christmas.
When the holiday season roles around I feel like a child again. The anticipation of gathering with friends and family. Consuming amazing, delicious, gigantic amounts of creamed cheese and candied vegetables. The trays and trays of chocolate squares and Christmas cake. The lights, the sparkle, the tree. All the pretty decorations. Beautifully wrapped presents, with perfect bows and the right amount of ribbon. Just thinking about it makes my heart skip a beat.
This Christmas was different. My heart rarely skipped a beat with joy but my blood pressure did rise and I felt much anxiety, so a similar occurrence I guess. It was our first Christmas with an almost 2 year old. In anticipation we expected that our son would be excited and really into the spirit of ripping open presents and playing with his new toys. I guess we jumped the gun a little. He didn't care. He liked the trees (yes in our house tree is plural) and was mesmerized by the glowing lights but the presents, the paper, the people were not exciting for him.
Christmas was almost a let down. He screamed most of the time, wanted to be hid away in a room by himself, wouldn't sleep, wouldn't eat, and did I mention he cried a lot?
This almost ruined Christmas for me. My negative attitude surfaced on many occasions, desperately making me want to announce to the world that this child, my child officially ruined Christmas this year. Wow, that should be my acceptance speech at the "Worst Mother of the Year" award banquet. I was quick to get flustered, felt embarrassed and no matter how many condolences and words of encouragement I still felt like I wanted to drop through that imaginary trap door that you see in cartoons that is always perfectly placed for maximum comic relief. Unfortunately that didn't happen for me. The floor never opened and swallowed me whole. I was left to face the reality that my child couldn't handle Christmas.
Probably for most people reading this, I appear slightly disturbed. Who knows maybe I am. What bothered me the most about my son not getting into Christmas like I was told by other parents or I secretly anticipated myself was that I missed out on the joy I experience every year. Now that I am a mother a part of my childhood fantasy world that I still exist in sometimes had to die. Sure this is extreme, he's not even two yet but I had big plans for this Christmas. I wanted those cute snap shots of him loving every minute with his toys so excited that there were more presents under the tree for him. I spent time thinking and planning what I would get him and none of that really seemed to matter.
Kid's can break your spirit.
What I learned from this is a simple concept but one I will have to keep in check, my son is an individual. I can't impress on him my ideas or my way of living because that may or may not be the healthy growth hormone for his authentic being.
Again he's not even two yet but it's probably better that I realize this now, and struggle now with the fact that he didn't want to rip the wrapping paper or wasn't as jazzed about his lightening McQueen slippers as I was when I found them then waiting until he is 18 and fighting with him over something probably really stupid but to both of us earth shattering and potentially relationship breaking.
Motherhood's hard. It's not just pushing a baby out and making sure that they are fed and clean. That stuff is easy. Sometimes I feel like I would rather wipe poopy butts all day then have to even acknowledge the fact that my little man is his own person, an individual, a completely uniquely constructed being who has an emotional heart, a soul and someday will be able to think and act on his own right.
I guess the point of me even typing these words is that this isn't new. My parents had to realize this and thank God they always let me be "Leah" and never forced me to be what their idea of "Leah" should be. Unfortunately for them that involved a lot of annoying concerts, original songs, public displays of talent or no talent at all (viewer's digression), a child with very little fear, quick off the top of the head decision making, outrageous statements, unwanted opinions and lots of notepad and journal purchasing. But if they had of tried to quell the songs, stop the show or silence the opinions I wouldn't be the person I am today. They had the choice to kill a creative mind or to nurture and grow a creative intelligence. I bet when the doctor declared "it's a girl" he didn't brief them on developing the heart and soul of another human being.
My mom said to me one day, "James is busy, he's tiring, but if you can get past that and focus on that sweet spirit and help it grow you wont have a problem." So now when he screams, or wants to hide I try not to let the sounds he makes or the actions irritate me. I try to focus on his sweet spirit. If I can focus on James Wesley Forde, the 25 year old man and who I desire him to be and believe God created him to be then I think I can get past him not liking Christmas. Maybe I examine things too closely, I have been told I dwell on topics too much but what I want for my son is the best life possible. I want him to be a confident, God loving person who is caring, genuine, has self control and is selfless. I'm sure I'll loose many hairs and the ones that stay will turn grey because of him but I hope that someday Christmas 2010 is a funny memory and I can look into the eyes of my son and feel proud that I helped shape this person.
So I guess I have to get over it. Christmas didn't tick by the way I imagined and I did get some cute snap shots of James. Now that everyone is gone he is enjoying his toys, wearing his clothes and using his toiletries. The fact is my son isn't me. He doesn't enjoy the pageantry of present opening (yet), sitting in dark rooms starring at Christmas lights, standing in awe of the all hailed Christmas tree. But who am I to say he wont be someday.
I just have to focus on that sweet sweet spirit.