Remember the feeling, the zing of excitement as it pulses through our veins. That first quiet step through a sleepy set of walls. The chill in the air as you pull on your favorite threadbare sweater. The first sip of hot energy as sizzles sound from the stovetop.
Anticipation flows through your tired limbs, up late with paper and tape. Will they love it or be disappointed? It feels the same every year. Pine and cinnamon float mildly through the air, pulling memories from you like the breath you suck into your lungs. Different, this year, yet familiar. You vow to bring grace to the newest traditions.
A warm hug embraces you from behind as you take your next sip of coffee and pull the bacon from the pan. Your husband sneaks a bite and smirks, and your cheeks tug upward as your mug clicks against the countertop.
Still. Quiet. Peaceful.
Children prance loudly, squealing as they make their way towards the lit tree. Skipping the breakfast you’ve made all together. Your husband’s chuckle as he shrugs your way fills you with gratitude.
“Hurry up, mom and dad!” comes the squeal as they begin to divide the shiny wrapped packages. Not the same as last year – but you hope they understand. Doubt floods you until you spot your baby with eyes glittering innocently. The flash of pride you feel surprises you.
“Youngest to oldest,” they shout, and that same baby squeals as they rip into the biggest gift with their name. Pure, innocent joy has them bouncing on the tips of their toes while breakfast cools on the counter.
“Yes!” they shout, as they open their gifts one by one. Your youngest sits inside the largest box, pretending to be an astronaut. You smirk as the toy held within sits just outside the box, incased in current disinterest.
Your husband sneaks up with a refill of coffee and kisses your cheek. “Stop worrying, babe. They’re going to love it because it came from you.”
Toys, paper and joy sprinkle the floor, loud chatter from the children wraps around your heart with quiet gratitude.
Merry Christmas texts and calls ping your long-forgotten devices, but you settle into being present. The best gift you have dreamed up.
2020 has been wild, but slowing down this Christmas may be the best gift we could ask for. Don’t forget to give yourself grace, love on your family, and enjoy having everyone home, if only for one day.
Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate from the Rey family to yours.