A flood of memories and emotions come to me every Christmas Eve.
I remember being so excited that I could hardly sleep on the nights before Christmas. I knew that the moment I woke up I would crawl out of my bunk bed without waking anyone else up to scope out what Santa brought for me. My sister was always soon to join. It's likely she didn't sleep at all and the moment she heard any noise she assumed it was me and would be out by the fireplace to dissect all our new swag.
I remember Christmas Eve nights spent with my dad's family. The White Elephant gift exchanges that some people took way too seriously. The tamale dinners that night were always to die for and one of the best traditions about Christmas.
I remember the first year that I spent Christmas with Erin and her family. We had only started dating about a week prior to Christmas, so it's a time that has always held a special place in my heart. I already associated so much joy with Christmas, and eleven years ago I got another reason to love it. Her uncles and family friends seemed to immediately click with me as we talked about the joys of horseradish on prime rib and clean sheets.
Now I have two little ones to experience all these joys over again. I can see the happiness that Christmas brings from an entirely new perspective. This time last year, they were just little helpless blobs. This year they're both walking. They are opening presents. They love all the lights and the ornaments on the tree. Christmas has always been a yearly marker along the path of life and lord knows it has flown by so far (even more so in this past year).
Grace and Ana,
I love you both. I hope your hearts are filled with joy and the spirit of giving every Christmas (and every day for that matter). You are the greatest gifts your mom and I have every received. You're also the greatest gift for each other. You always have someone in your corner besides your mom and me.
I love you,