Monday, December 10, 2012

Baby, it's you!

For most of my adult life, I always spent every Christmas Eve with my boyfriend (whoever that happened to be at the time.) We'd have a quiet, romantic evening, just the two of us and exchange gifts and then I would celebrate Christmas day with my family (some boyfriends would join me at my family celebration, others went to celebrate with their own families). This year of course, there's no boyfriend in the picture. I'll be spending Christmas Eve with my little Michelle. I'm excited about her first Christmas, even though she won't really understand what's going on. She seems to admire the tree with its glittery ornaments. I have presents for her though I'll have to open them for her and of course she's too young to really appreciate them. These days she just sticks everything in her mouth so I did get a couple of teething toys. Obviously she doesn't have any presents for me but that's fine. I really don't want or need anything for Christmas this year. She is the greatest gift of my entire life.

I wrote her a song, "Baby, it's you" about being a single Mom and how she's my dream come true and the love I've always been searching for. I made a video using photos I've taken of her and the ones my friend James Harvey took of Michelle and I together.

On Christmas Eve, I'll cuddle up with Michelle under the Christmas tree, open her presents and read her "Twas the Night Before Christmas" -- it's a family tradition -- my Mom used to read it to us every year. We will enjoy our quiet little Christmas together. Then the next day we'll celebrate with the whole gang. It will be a pretty chaotic, boisterous Christmas with everyone there, including six kids. It's a treat to have everyone together for Christmas though. It didn't always happen. Most years we didn't all get to be together on Christmas day. I often had to work. My brother Mike and his wife take turns celebrating Christmas at their families, alternating each year. Last year neither Mike (my brother) nor I could make it for Christmas day so we celebrated as a family the weekend before Christmas. As luck would have it, this year it's Mike's turn for he and his wife to be with his family so we'll all be there for Michelle's Christmas. It will be nice for all the little cousins to see each other. Christmas is just a few weeks away but I wonder if Michelle will be doing anything new by then. Maybe she'll be able to sit up (she can now but with support). Maybe she'll be laughing more (she has giggled a couple of times and it was the cutest sound I've ever heard but most of the time she just has a silent laugh, a big open mouthed smile.) 
My family agreed that we should scale back this year and just buy presents for the kids (even that is a challenge with so many kids!) Luckily I was able to cash in my Air Miles for several Toys R Us gift cards which was a big help. Money is tight on Maternity Leave and I have to be really careful. My Mom hasn't been able to shop much this year either. I told her not to worry about it. She shouldn't be shopping anyway. Since my Dad retired they've had to be more careful financially as well. I told her that Christmas isn't about the presents anyway. It's about love. It's about family being together. I love Christmas. The tree. The carols. Getting together with everyone. Now Christmas will be even more exciting with Michelle. Especially in years to come where she's old enough to understand and appreciate it. Seeing her face light up with excitement over simple things (silly songs, faces I make, toys, sounds) is such a delight. She smiles so much. One day when I was out recently a woman asked how old she was. She thought Michelle was 10 months. The woman said Michelle seems very intelligent for 4 months old. She's so alert and makes eye contact with you and flashes a genuine smile. I'm so used to her smiling (she has from the beginning) but other people seem surprised at how much she smiles as well as how much she chatters in her own little babyspeak. So many strangers have remarked about how alert she is, how bright she seems and what an amazing smile she has. Of course I think she's amazing but I'm a little biased and certainly can't be objective! Of course her Grandma makes a big fuss of her too. I like hearing such positive comments from strangers because I figure if they're noticing it, it must be true.
Michelle is very sensitive and I have to be careful about my moods because she can pick up on them. I try not to get visibly angry in front of her (I used to curse out loud at other drivers. Now I just mutter under my breath if someone annoys me.) I try not to worry. I try not to look sad. A couple of times I've had to fight back tears. I don't want her to see me cry. I have to be strong for her. "It's OK," I say and force a smile when she can tell I'm upset and starts to mimick my worried face. I'm so relieved when she smiles again. She manages to pull me out of my bad moods. There isn't time to get down if I wanted to. She keeps me too busy. And she always ends up making me smile. There were times in the past when I let things get to me. I would overanalyze and get my mind spinning worrying about things. Now most of the time I'm happy because I have my angel with me. I have to make her happy and in the process it picks me up too.
I was always looking for a partner that I would share an unconditional love with. Someone to share my life with. Someone I could trust and admire. Someone who could make me laugh. Someone who would bring out the best in me. I never imagined that when I finally found that wonderful person that it wouldn't be a man but a baby girl. I'm not saying that I would never get involved in a romantic relationship again. I'm open to the possibility but I'm certainly not holding my breath and not trying to meet anyone by any means. I used to always feel like I "needed" a boyfriend in my life. The love I have for Michelle is different than any I've ever experienced and it fills my life so that I don't feel anything is missing. She is everything to me. Being a single Mom, though it can be challenging in so many ways (not having help physically, emotionally or financially) is so rewarding because I get to share a bond with her that is deep and fulfilling, more so than any relationship I've ever had. I'm glad it's just Michelle and I right now. Frankly a man would have been in the way. I wouldn't have had my full attention to give to Michelle. The first year of a baby's life is so crucial for their development. I really want to be there for her completely and not have anyone or anything get between us. I may be a bit of an obsessive Mom but I think that's OK. All the attention I'm giving her is helping her to learn and to feel loved. That is more important to me than anything. 

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