Christmas has long been a special time for me. My husband and I married just days before Christmas almost ten years ago. We spent our first Christmas together and my first Christmas apart from my own family as newlyweds collecting seashells on a southern Florida beach which was followed by a trip to one of the most magical places on earth, Disneyworld.
We celebrated our first pregnancy the next Christmas and transported our first, and only Christmas tree, a seven foot tall artificial across town in my Geo Prism with its doors bungee corded shut. That year I was humorously deluded into believing I could not only have a Martha Stewartish tree, but that I even wanted one.
Our second Christmas was celebrated in our new house but was overwhelmingly tinged with sadness. I was about three months pregnant with our first rainbow but only six months out from Wyatt's birth and death. As if that wasn't enough, in the midst of our grief, we sought comfort in the form of a puppy. The most adorable black and brown miniature daschund who apparently was very familiar with the novel Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. We intended to purchase Dr. Jeckyll but unknowingly took home Mr. Hyde. It was not a good fit and after about five months we came to the difficult conclusion that our puppy would be much happier with a different family. That decision was reached just before Christmas and by Christmas she was gone. As if that wasn't enough, my sister was coming for Christmas with her one month old baby boy. That was almost too much for me. Her pregnancy was unplanned and she was extremely immature and unprepared to have a baby. I was jealous and heartbroken at the same time. Many weeks of sad anticipation of that visit passed. I didn't know at that time what I was capable of. When at last Christmas came, I not only went to see him, but I held him and snuggled him and like the Grinch, my heart grew two sizes that day.
Fast forward to last Christmas. I spent many hours sitting alone in our living room gazing upon the most beautiful Christmas tree I know, my own. Over the years, just like me, that tree has changed. It began with ribbons and glass bulbs which when children finally entered our home changed into plastic and cloth. It is a red, green and white confection of gingerbread men and women, Santas, snowmen and angels topped with a golden star. The frosting are my twinkling white lights (which thanks to an hour long shopping mission across town are now LED). The twinkling white lights are my constant and truly one of my favorite things. So last year I sat, unable to sleep, consumed with grief for the child I carried within who would not be here to see those twinkling lights for the first time this year. Even those beautiful twinkling lights did not brighten my dark days and nights.
Which brings me to this Christmas. Those twinkling lights are here again, steadier than the stars, which often disappear behind wispy clouds. They are more beautiful to me this year but I still long to see them reflected in the eyes of one who hasn't seen them before.