Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christmas at our house

This is what Christmas looks like at our house.

Snowglobes, and lots of them. Seventeen, in fact.

It started on Kate's first Christmas, when Ryenne was only two years old. My grandma Sally and Courtney's mom each had a snowglobe. And everytime Ryenne saw them, she was completely entranced. And so it was that Courtney had the idea to give the girls a snowglobe of thier own each Christmas. It's now become one of our favorite traditions. Each year, we try to find one that reminds us of that particular time of life for each of the girls. As a result, we have snowglobes with books, mom and baby in a rocking chair, a ballerina, even a Harley Davison snowglobe!

I always loved decorating for Christmas as a little girl. My mom is a master at Christmas. Out came the boxes. . .boxes and boxes! The house was transformed, and I loved it. Every nook, cranny, and window sill became decked with lights, berries, and Christmas decor of every kind. My favorite task was setting out the nativity. To me, it was beautiful, an almost sacred event. I even enjoyed spreading out the itchy "angel hair" (that's what we always called the white, curly stuff that made the nativity seem as though it was floating amongst the clouds).

It was a big job! But when we were done? Everything felt cozy. Warm. Magical. It felt like Christmas.

I still get excited about decorating for Christmas. And I love seeing the excitement in the girls. It mounts as their Dad brings in boxes. . .boxes and boxes! Once again, we "deck the halls" with berries, lights, and Christmas decor of every kind. And I still love setting out the nativity.

But for the girls? It has to be the snowglobes. The unveiling of the snowglobes is the most magical part of the decorating for the girls. It is so fun to watch. One by one, the globes are unwrapped. We all "ooh" and "aah" over the beauty and splendor of each one. Then, the owner of that particular snowglobe winds the music box, shakes the snow, and we all listen to the wonderful, soft tinkling sound of music and watch the snow fall. It's a magic that can only come from a snowglobe.

A few years ago, we almost quit the tradition. After all, how many snowglobes can one house hold? But a few days later, we brought out the boxes. . .boxes and boxes! We started the annual Christmas decorating. Lights, greenery, Christmas books. Soon, the snowglobes were discovered.

I witnessed magic. Delight. Wonder. A glimpse of all of the best parts of childhood, all captured in a wonderful moment on the faces of three little girls.

And so, the snowglobes continue. By the time Ryenne leaves home, we estimate we will have at least 56 snowglobes.

One thing I'm learning quickly as a parent is how fleeting childhood really is. Although Ryenne is only eight years old, I'm becoming all too aware that the innocence of childhood is going to fade long before I'm ready for it to disappear. Those moments of delight and wonder are not going to last forever. And so, if it takes finding a place in my home for 56 snowglobes, just so I can capture that look of childhood on my girls faces at least once a year, I'm going to do it.

Like my mom always told me, there's nothing like the magic of Christmas.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

here's to a new year. . .and a beautiful world

I'm so happy to start 2009! I don't know exactly why, but my heart is full of excitement and hope for what this year will bring. Each year seems to bring the unexpected, both joyful and painful, and I'm sure this year will be no different. But maybe it's the unknown that intrigues me.

I'm a big fan of the card game Rook, although only if it involves my brother-in-law Darrell, because he makes me very competitive. (I like nothing better than beating Darrell in Rook. Well, almost.) Anyway, what I like best about this card game- and Darrell, Courtney, and Alyssa can attest to this- is finding out what is in "the middle". You know, the cache of cards that are awarded to the player risky enough to take the bid. Ideally, the one who takes the bid has been dealt a strategically sound hand. However, often I am driven to take the bid, not because I have a great hand, but because I am dying to see what is in those cards. Sometimes it serves me well, other times it makes me groan in despair. It's the old, "I'm sorry partner." If I'd known, I'd have never taken the bid. Or would I? Even if it's painful, in the end I'm still kind of glad. There is such fun in the discovery.

I think my Rook strategy is a bit like starting a new year. I'm looking ahead to twelve months of unknown possibilities. And I have to be honest, it's a bit exciting. In fact, really exciting. I'm just dying to know what's in "the middle". And who knows? It may be joyful, or it might turn out to be a little painful. There will surely be a few moments when I have to say, "Sorry, partner. I shouldn't have done that". But when all is said and done, despite the mistakes in strategy and the unavoidable bad turns, I hope to look back at 2009 and say with a shrug, "I'm glad I took the risk. There was such fun in the discovery". I read a statement last night in the book The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch. He wrote, "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." I loved that. Life is full of experience.

I awoke this morning to Emmy's tale of angels visiting during the night. She said she woke up and when she looked out the window, there were angels in our yard, flying all around. A bit later, when she elaborated this event to Courtney, the tooth fairy was even involved. And now just a few minutes ago, we looked outside at the beautiful snow covered fields and mountains. My heart felt so happy and blessed at the scene. Just then, Emmy snuggled up and said excitedly, "See, mom! Can you see how the snow is all sparkly? The fairies did that!"

How can I not be filled with excitement and hope for the beautiful world and the year that lies ahead? I have fairy dust in my own back yard.