What a difference a year makes.
Last Christmas, my son, Dylan, was a chubby little 7-month-old with no clue what all the excitement was about. He just sat on the couch surrounded by toys, clothing, boxes, wrapping paper and bows.
This year, he still had no clue what all the excitement was about, but boy he sure did love the whole gift-getting idea. So much so, he decided no gift could stay wrapped, whether it was for him or not.
We woke up Christmas morning by ourselves like every other morning, which I have decided will not happen again. Over the years, a common factor of Christmas morning has been waking up to my younger brother, Chad, jumping on my bed screaming "Merry Christmas," then we would run into the living room and open our presents together.
Although Dylan was with me this year, it was definitely lonely not having anyone to share the morning with. So starting next year, as long as I am single, my son and I will be staying at my mother's house on Christmas Eve.
Later that morning, Dylan's dad came over and opened presents with us, which was so much fun. I had camera and camcorder in hand to capture all the excitement. Since his father really doesn't have any experiences with the holiday, sharing the day with him made it that much more memorable.
Dylan loved opening all the presents and playing with all the toys. Daddy put everything together for him and Dylan would go from one toy to the next checking them out. He really loved the dancing Elmo. He would bob his head along with Elmo as the stuffed red monster sang the ABCs.
|Dylan, Christmas 2002
What fun it was to see him be so excited!
Then it was time to pack up the car with presents for our family and trek over to grandma's. After waiting for a bit, it was time to open more gifts. Uncle Chad handed out each gift one by one to everyone.
"This one is for Auntie Lisa, and this one is for Cousin Liam. This one is for grandma … here you go Dylan, this one is for you!"
The pile of gifts for Dylan and myself began towering over us as he went from one stack of wrapped boxes to the next trying to open each of them. He didn't care which ones were his, as long as he could tear the paper right off them.
Everyone kept trying to show him which gifts were his, but it didn't seem to matter. He would rip the paper off one shirt box and hand it to me saying "Mama" as if he knew there weren't any cool toys inside of them.
After daddy put together the sit-and-spin, a gift from Uncle Chad, he calmed down for a second. Daddy spun him around and around as he grinned from ear to ear. Then it was back to tearing off wrapping paper again.
He scurried back and forth from one gift to the next through the sea of torn wrapping paper all over the floor. By 1 p.m., he was still wide awake and smiling, and for a toddler who rarely misses his nap, this was amazing.
Earlier in the day, I had begun to doubt my gift-giving ability to my son. After hearing of the numerous, extravagant gifts some of my friends had gotten for their children, I began to wonder if I had spent enough of my savings on my son. I also felt the need to make up for his father's side not celebrating the holiday.
It was something his father said to me Christmas morning, that made me appreciate the things I did get for Dylan. He said, "Look at all the stuff you gave him. You should be glad you are able to buy the things you did for him."
Christmas Day 2002 was filled with love, fun, laughter and tons of wrapping paper. But most of all the day was filled with memories of Christmas with Dylan that will last a lifetime.
Deanne Lowenstein is the Lodi News-Sentinel's Panorama page editor. She can be contacted at (209) 369-7035; at 125 N. Church St., or via e-mail.
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