Christmas Eve has been the holiday in our family for as long as I can remember. Despite being Jewish, my mother always threw a big Christmas Eve party for our family and friends. Last year, we had just learned days before Christmas that we were expecting Wylie. It was a very happy Christmas. This year was a little bit (okay, a lot bit) of the opposite. It had been difficult for me to juggle Ethan's overwhelming happiness at finally understanding the concepts of Christmas (or the ones we celebrate, like Santa and his reindeer) and then my overwhelming sadness that Wylie isn't here to celebrate with us. I had heard the first holiday season was the most difficult but I'd been doing okay, or at least I thought, until Christmas Eve. That was when I couldn't distract myself or keep myself busy any longer. That was when it became so very obvious that there was one family member missing, one of my children not there to open gifts. Knowing very well this would be a rough Christmas Eve, we scaled down our celebration this year. Instead of a big, crazy party at my mom's house, we invited my parents, sister and one of my best friends to our house instead. We had a little dinner and a whole lot of cookies (Ethan and I spent the week baking our hearts out) and opened gifts here. Ethan thought it was the best party ever and that was all I wanted.
Bunch of crazies!
We gifted a whole lot of Paramount Coffee this year. Bonus points to any coffee company who makes coffee in your dad's favorite ice cream flavor.
Grandma and Grandpa bought Ethan a Hape dollhouse and he is in love. I love watching his imagination at work as he plays.
Reindeer food for the yard!
Ethan asked Santa for two very important things: blocks and a stuffed Piglet. I couldn't wait to see his face when he saw all of the Duplos and the Duplo table and, of course, the Piglet. He was so excited that Santa came and knew exactly what he wanted!
We spent Christmas Day just as quiet as we did Christmas Eve, visiting with family and watching Ethan explore everything he got for Christmas. I think, despite it all, we gave it a good go this year and I hope Ethan had the magical time that he deserved to have. I'm a little sad to watch Ethan at this very age and stage say goodbye to Christmas until next year when he will be so much older and so much different, but I'm also a little relieved that the first Christmas after losing Wylie is over. It's more of that bittersweet, the happy and sad, the joy and the pain that I'm still trying to figure out how to balance.