Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baby’s First Christmas – Again

(Desiree Carter Semones; born October 28, 2009)

The Christmas season is upon us again – where did the time go? It seems like the older I get, the faster time flies by. I no longer have any little children in the household, so our Christmas routine is somewhat different than it was years ago. I can remember the kids being so excited to get up early Christmas morning and open their presents. Christmas really is for children.

Although I can’t remember back to my first Christmas, after all I was only four months old, there is one picture of me I vividly remember from the Christmas of 1962. I am lying on my Granny Devine’s couch and there is a huge stocking next to me, the old-fashion type of man’s stocking. My Granddaddy had filled it with lots of baby food, or that’s what everyone has told me. I have no memories at all of my Granddaddy; he died when I was still a baby. What knowledge I have of him is from the stories my Mom has told me and the few precious photographs that still exist.

I can remember so many details of my first daughter’s Christmas in 1982 – Amber was only three months old. Of course, she was too young to know what was going on, but I enjoyed making memories and taking photos. She got lots of clothes and toys that have long been forgotten, but there is one precious gift that holds special memories. My parents gave her a solid white stuffed kitten – it was almost a duplicate of one I had as a child. I can remember Amber carrying this kitten when she got older, and I eventually had to store it away in a closet, least it fall apart and be gone forever. Since then, my other two girls have been given white kittens and this will be a tradition I will carry on with my grandchildren. My girl’s cats are all lovingly packed away with my own kitten and they will eventually end up in a shadow box or some type of display, but until then, I’ll keep them safe and sound.

When Marie’s first Christmas arrived in 1984, she was already walking and talking. At nine months old, she was a little pistol, trying to do everything her older sister was doing. This was an exciting Christmas for our family because Amber had just turned two and she was starting to understand what Christmas was all about.

This year, there were toys galore under the tree – rocking horses, Strawberry Shortcake, Gizmo and more. Although the He-Man castle was technically Amber’s, we had a hard time keeping Marie out of all the paraphernalia that went along with He-Man and Skeletore. This was also our first Christmas in our brand-new house – it seems like such a lifetime ago.

Christmas 1988 brought us the first Christmas of my niece, Ashley, the only child of my sister, Amy. Being a baby of three months, I’m sure Ashley doesn’t remember much, but she was the newest addition to the family and we were all happy to have another baby to love on. We’ve stored away memories and photographs, which are fun to look back on and remember.

When Christine’s first Christmas rolled around in 1992, our lives had changed so much for the better. We were a happy family blended together and the holidays were a joyous time. Christine was only three months old, but Amber and Marie were 10 and 8, so Christmas fever began before Thanksgiving was even over with. Again, Christine was too young to remember this first Christmas, but like the other girls here are tons and tons of photos, plus descriptions in her baby book.

Christmas 1993 brought us the first Christmas of a baby boy, my nephew, Ethan, son of my brother and sister-in-law, Brent and Patty. Like Marie, Ethan was nine months old, so he was almost walking and talking and enjoyed the excitement from his first Christmas. Now there were five grandchildren to fill my parents home and we all loved being together.

As the years have passed, we continue to gather at my parent’s home on Christmas Eve. A hearty meal my Mom slaves over all day gives us turkey and ham, mashed potatoes and dressing, corn and macaroni, broccoli casserole and oysters – we eat until we are so stuffed we’re miserable. When the kids were all younger, we had to rush through the meal because they were so anxious to open gifts. Now that the kids are older, the meal is more relaxed and less hurried. We have time to clear away the meal and spend time together before the rush of wrapping paper and ribbons start to litter the floor.

Although I continue to love spending the holidays with my family, it has just not been the same without little children in the house. I long for the days when my own grandchildren will gather around on Christmas Eve to celebrate the season. There is just something magical about a child at Christmas – a wonderment you can only see through their eyes.

Christmas 2009 will again have a new baby in the family, Desiree Carter, daughter of my niece Ashley. Although she is less than two months old, it is such a joy to have a baby at Christmas again. There will be lots of presents she won’t remember, lots of memories that we will remember, and plenty of photographs to show her when she’s grown. I know this is the beginning of a new phase in the life of my family, a new generation of babies to love and enjoy and I look forward to entertaining them all, not just at the holidays, but all through the year.