I don’t have Christmas music on. Instead I’m listening to “Moth’s Wings” by Passion Pit. You don’t have to look them up. They’re not that good. But, the point is that I don’t need Carol of the Bells to be in the Christmas Spirit. All I need is Cheetos and a glass of my favorite beverage and this computer screen to stare into like a mirror and I can see that I’ve got everything I need.
A soft white glow shines on the back of a miniature mouse ears hat ornament. How random is that?
There’s a giant paper turkey holding up a sign on the bulletin board across from me. His two foot long accordion legs make him the largest paper plate craft up there. I can see the pride in his button eyes.
Last night we dug out the, I don’t even know what you call it anymore, the camcorder? It uses these tiny VHS style tapes, but promises to be high-tech with its fancy stickers and features. Of course, it doesn’t even plug into our TV or laptop so we were forced to huddle around the tiny flip out LCD screen.
It took me back. Back to when Pax was a chubby, slightly less than handsome, baby who would lay on the floor and do nothing but discover the rattle in his fist over and over again. Ella stood over him with her barely visible hair and gave him stuffed animals to be his friends. Surprisingly, she didn’t talk much then and now I wondered if that had something to do with her hearing loss or if it was just her personality. Either way, I was seeing a different version of my kids than what they are now. Ella had a language explosion at the age of three and I can’t remember a time when Pax wasn’t going on about something awesome or cool that kept his attention away from whatever I was telling him to do.
I think I’m just remembering what it was like, and remembering where we’ve been. Christmases have changed drastically in the past six years. And life may have become more stressful. But it’s still good. Even when Ella’s eyes are red from watering constantly because she’s sick and Pax is waking me up in the middle of the night to go pee, the fact is that tonight I had a really enjoyable night with everyone. Maybe because for two nights in a row I took some sleeping pills and went to bed at 8:00, instead of my usual 2 or 3 am. It could be a lot of things. I’m pretty sure it has to do with me though, getting my head back in the game, so to speak. And maybe part of this is just me talking to myself to think of it that way. Either way it seems to help.
Being a dad isn’t always easy. Of course you love your kids. You want to give them everything they want for Christmas. You just want them to be happy. Even when you’ve got your own internal things going on. This time of year though I’m reflecting on the gifts I can give them. Not the telescope or the sheriff costume (sh! don’t tell them!) but what the most important gift is. That’s being there for them as their dad.
So, I think I’m starting to find my Christmas Cheer. It’s been right here all along.