We no longer have to hire a sitter and we no longer have to worry about keeping Ramona happy and quiet during Mass, as she manages that herself. But the rest of it holds true.
Have a happy, holy, and blessed Christmas!
My husband and I have a holiday tradition. Every year, close to Christmas, we get a babysitter, go out for Chinese food and buy all the last-minute
(WARNING: SANTA SPOILER AHEAD)
stocking stuffers and generally fall in love all over again -- with each other, with our children, and with the magic of Christmas. We talk about how our day went, about my parents, and his, and holiday travel plans, about how we'll keep the youngest child happy and calm during the long Christmas Eve Mass, and about how we can't believe how drastically our Christmases have changed over the years.
You see, when we married, we didn't want children. Children were nice enough for other people, but not for us. We didn't want the mess, the commitment, the responsibility. We were happy to be "child free" as opposed to "childless."
Then something happened. I became a Christian. Oops. Short-circuit in the selfishness department. I began to long for a child. Soon, Atticus's heart caught up with mine in the procreation department, and we set forth to create a family. After some heartbreaking miscarriages, we had Anne. But only one, Atticus said. One child is enough.
Then I became a Catholic. Oops. Short-circuit in the openness to life department. We had Betsy. Several more heartbreaking miscarriages later, God awarded us with Ramona, and here we are. Falling in love again at Christmas time, and crazy, head-over-heels in love with our children.
And all because of of a child born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Had Mary said, "No, thank you, I'd like to remain child-free," I would be childless. There would have been no conversion, no short-circuit, and most certainly, no joy. How does one thank God for that? I always seem to do it in the same old tired way.
May you, too, shed some tears of ineffable gratitude this Christmas.