7.23.2017

On the Other Side of the Door

Dear Lucy,

In March of last year, Big Red took down your crib and I transformed your nursery into a big girl room, the hallmark of which was a twin bed. You loved it. There were little, if any, bumps in trying to convince you to sleep in the new bed. In fact, I don't recall anything at all.

And then three and a half months later we went to California for two weeks in which the three of us, me, you, and Nana, slept together in one bed. Upon return to your room, you decided sleeping alone wasn't cool anymore, so into our bed you migrated. You stayed there until your third birthday, in October, when I created this elaborate scheme to get you back into your own bed. Luna your personal fairy arrived, replete with a fairy door, and a picture of the two of you together while you were sleeping (thanks, Photoshop). Luna also left you a letter in which she explained that she would watch over you as you slept, and that three year-olds are brave and sleep in their own beds. She also left you a new night light that projected stars on your ceiling.

It was a hit, and back into your bed you went.

Until the novelty wore off, and somehow I found you right back at my side again a few months later. Shadows you said. You needed me, you said.

You needed me.

To feel needed is sublime. To know that my presence has the power to cure all your fears is, frankly, intoxicating. You and I both love Wonder Woman, and it's in these moments that I actually feel as powerful. I was never ashamed of the co-sleeping, and I enjoyed sleeping next your warm body. It was equal parts survival and IDGAF. It was, for the time being, working.

Then it wasn't. For a while we dealt with the tossing and turning, kneeing Big Red, and landing elbows on my nose. We were losing sleep. And then it got dramatically worse: you decided the act of going to sleep, at all, was purgatory, and by doing so, took us with you into the pit of hell.

Every single night was an ongoing battle to go to bed. Gone were the calm evenings of stories and songs. In their place were tears and screaming. We bargained, we pleaded. In our worst moments we stomped away frustrated, we yelled. I became angry that I was losing my nights to your hysterics. My darling, I love you in ways words cannot even touch, and yet in those moments, I wanted to mute your cries, to teleport myself out of our sweet home and into someplace, anyplace else. Some nights I was able to call up the patience that you required, and I saw you for exactly what you were: a little girl who felt safe at her mama's side. I would repeat to myself, a mantra: this is what she needs right now, lay with her, it's just a phase, you'll miss this when it's gone. That would get me through a few evenings, but surely as still waters run deep, that ball of anger and frustration would gurgle and rise like a geyser. Again I'd be all rage and fury.

Earlier this month, Big Red and I spoke after a particularly difficult evening and agreed it was time to help you back into your bed. We would draw a line in the sand upon our return from our annual trip to California. I would be as transparent as possible, and we would hold our ground. And by golly it worked. The day you went back into your bed, I told you what would be happening, and true to form, you responded with angry tears and arms crossed over your chest. Proclamations of I WILL NOT! filled our house. I explained there'd be a prize for which to work, which seemed to help.

As the day progressed, I remind you of what would happen. That night we read books, sang songs, and chatted. You asked if I would be in my bed. I explained that I'd be downstairs with Daddy, but eventually I'd go to bed, just like you were doing, and I'd be on the other side of your door.

You have successfully been in your bed since.

The last night you slept in our bed, I watched you and was drawn to the pulse in your neck. The way the rush of blood, sweeping back and forth, made the skin leap up and down. I tried to remain as present as possible, not projecting what would happen the next night, if it would work or not, but rather just being your mama, next to you. You are a fiery, independent, strong-willed little girl, Lucy. In those moments as my eyes traversed the beautiful contours of your perfect face, I thought about how I could best support you. Not just in that hour, but as you continue to grow into yourself, whatever self evolves. I asked myself how to always remain a reflective mama so as not to stand in your way, to never unintentionally clip those dazzling wings. My girl, light always finds you, and I never want to be the one who casts a shadow.

As I wrote earlier, it's absolutely marvelous to feel needed. There will come a day though, when your need for me will change. But darling - you take the lead. I will follow as you are not mine to hold onto; you are your own. Know though, that I am always here, your soft place to fall, just on the other side of the door.

Love, Mama


5.09.2017

Mother's Day #4

Seems as of lately there have been plenty of back-handed jokes along the lines of, “You’re in for it with that one!” The reference to that one is, obviously, my daughter. She is willful, and contrarian, sass-mouthed, and rebellious. We are, without a doubt, neck-deep in the quagmire of preschooler defiance.

And yet, the peanut gallery commentary cautioning us to prepare ourselves for her teenage years really irks me. In fact, while I laugh it off publicly, deep down, I get kind of ragey. This quip of an observation serves no purpose – not a single one. It’s tossed into the universe with a laugh, but falls like rocks on the shoulders of a mama who doesn’t see, like you, a future riotess. Why do the behaviorally appropriate actions of a 3.5 year-old immediately qualify her as someone who will cause so much trouble?

She’s testing the limits. Her identity is stronger now than when she was a baby, and therefor she’s learning to pull away from us in an effort to be independent. It has, for me, been the most difficult stage of her childhood to date (yes, even including the newborn phase). There are opinions to manage, and fears to acknowledge, likes to incorporates, and hard boundaries that rest on our weary backs after long days at work, and house care, and groceries, and cooking, and taking out the garbage, and existing.

It would be INFINITELY easier to concede defeat when she digs in her heals over what X-factor is important right this minute. So much easier. And while there are plenty of times that I weigh the worthiness of the fight (sometimes, many times – it’s not worth it), Mothering isn’t in the dealings of being easy. That became excruciatingly clear on day one. I take my role as her Mother, quite seriously. And like a lot of other mothers out there of strong-willed young ladies, we’ve realized we’re not just raising kids – we’re raising leaders and innovators, scientists and illustrators, chefs and moguls. We’re raising bookworms and senators, teachers and makeup artists, anchors and musicians. We’re raising writers and presidents, Elizabeth Warrens and Angela Davises, Frida Kahlos and Virginia Apgars.

But to get there, we’ve got to get through the riot right now. The arms-crossed, peanut butter sandwich demanding, foot-stomping, screaming tantrum time-outs of the day-to-day. We are traversing the landscape of Joseph Campbell’s well noted Hero’s Journey. The ordinary world is long gone (possibly forever) and we are into the realm of the special world where there are allies and enemies, ordeals and rebirth. Sometimes it’s hard to tell for whom the test is – she or me? My best guess is it’s for us both.

My position in Lucy’s life is not to quell that which fuels her, but rather help her harness that fiery spunk. Encourage her to discover what her legacy will be. Mark Twain is the author of one of my all-time favorite sayings: "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why." I can’t tell her what she is meant to do – that’s not my job. It’s her life to live, hers to figure out. I’m her mama, the proverbial wall against which she will bash herself, as well as hopefully, lean against when she’s tired. My singular premium for being her mother, for investing in her well-being, for championing her spirit, is, in simple terms –  to have the privilege of watching her live the life she wants. To see her smile the kind of brightness that radiates from a life fulfilled.

On Sunday I will wake up next to her sweet face (I need to sleep in your bed, mama) as she points to the window and announces that it's morning time, mama, and she will give me a card she made (it's a surprise so she's already told me so). Perhaps there will be a few other acknowledgements, and a sunny day spent together while Big Red grills some steaks. Me and my girl. The girl who made me a mother. 
  
I’m not in for it with this one.

I’m in it, proudly, with her.

11.15.2016

Someday.

Below is the letter I wrote to my daughter, the one I'd so hoped would be truth. And despite the outcome, there remains some truth. There is so much to say, but I can't wrangle the words. Instead, this is what I wrote the other day:

My sweet Lucille, this was not the morning to which I'd hoped you'd wake up. Our country is very clearly still living within the confines of a patriarchy. But - make no mistake - our knuckles have grazed the glass, and while we were unable to completely shatter that ceiling, there are fractures. Someday, my love, someday. Maybe it will be you. 


I sincerely hope I can pull this letter out in four years, and it will mean something in a way it didn't this year.

Dear Lucille,

Last night, Hillary Rodham Clinton, won the election and has become the President elect. At the turn of the year, Barack Obama, our first black president will end his tenure, and Clinton will become President of the United States of America. This is not a letter about whether I like her or disliked the man who ran against her. This, Lucille, is entirely about the fact that a WOMAN will now hold the highest office in this land. And that, no matter where you stand on party lines, deserves respect.

It is monumental.

Clinton’s road to the White House began long before you ever existed, and women before her have been quietly, and some quite loudly, paving the way for this very moment. We read a book called Rad American Woman A-Z, and some of these warriors are named. If you turn back the clocks you will find a remarkable reel of women that illuminate a bold future for you.

When you were born a female, a gender you currently express, you were born with an inherent set of challenges. Our culture places a heavy emphasis on the material, especially looks. According to magazines, and TV shows, and movies, and the pervasive noise that is our world, you will be judged, at least initially, on how you look. In your lifetime you will fight misogyny, sexism, expectations to be married and have children, rape culture, imposed body image assumptions, and a menagerie of double-standards. Lucille, I am working to arm you. To save you from the language of the crawl that has formed in my own head, the one I lived with, to something braver, something much more confident; we watch Wonder Woman and talk about how she is strong and saves herself. We read books about girls like Molly Lou Mellon who walk proudly while dismissing the judgements of others. We talk about the different shapes and sizes and colors of our friends, and how some families have two Mamas, and some have to Daddies.

The work of women is not done, my love, and we’re nowhere near eradicating gender expectations, but we are moving in the right direction. You and I are part of a gender history fraught with blood and toil, misandry, rape and murder  – but we are also part of a history bedazzled with the likes of Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Blackwell, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Nellie Bly, Bessie Coleman, Jane Addams, Amelia Earhart, Shirley Chisholm, Gloria Steinem, and now, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Today, another giant crack in that ceiling has formed, and if you tilt your face up to that fracture, my dear, you will feel the rain serpentine its way through and fall upon your cheeks like a kiss. As your mama, I can say that you, Lucille, can one day be president. That’s what this is about. Today is a day in history that will forever be marked by progress for the women in this country.

Whether you add your name to that very public list will be your prerogative. Regardless, I will love you for all your failures and triumphs, whether you are known or unknown to the masses. You won’t remember today, not by a long shot, and Clinton’s tenure as president, however far it reaches, will be a blip in your history. But we women will be watching, fully aware of the public misogyny and sexist rubbish Madam President will face. I, as a woman and your mama, will be watching closely, hoping that despite the politics and policy, she continues to forge a road for us.

Today, Lucille, I just need you to know that anything is possible. And I will reiterate that sentiment for the rest of my life, calling upon the names of these women who have come before you, as you encounter whatever challenges may be ahead.

Lucille, a woman is President.

A woman.

10.09.2016

She's Three.

Dear Lucille,
Photo Credit: Horseshoe Hill Photography

Today you turn the magical number three. Three. I’m going to let that rest on my tongue a minute, and slowly digest this fallen snowflake of amazement because I can hardly believe how far we’ve come since your birth. Three is a lucky number according to the Chinese, partly because it sounds like the word that means life – and life, my sweet Lucille, is what you radiate.

You are a full-blown little girl who still loves to swing on the swings at the park and has developed a passion for riding the “carouself.” The purple dragon, on our favorite carouself, is your steed of choice. I’m pretty certain that if we allowed it, you’d eat “broccomole” and chips every day for dinner, and guzzle down chocolate milk (cut with regular milk: “…first we add the chocolate, then we add the milk, and that’s how you get chocolate milk!”) by the gallon. We still, every night, read two books, and I sing you two songs. The books are on rotation, but the songs remain constant. It’s always out of your favorite, four: Somewhere Over the Rainbow, You Are My Sunshine, Go to Sleep You Little Baby, and Hush Little Baby.

Over the past year your imagination has exploded, and I mean, really taken off. It’s fascinating to see you create scenarios with your toys, talking about where you and your “children” are going. You have named all your stuffed animals, and while some include obvious monikers of Piggie for a stuffed pig, there’s also Roberto (a dog), Dorothy (a unicorn), Becky (a monkey), and Margaret (a tiger). To date, Tiger, the original, remains your absolute favorite. You named your three baby dolls, Sara, Ella, and Audrey.   

Of note, you’ve also added to your extensive vocabulary, the most notable word being fucking. Yes, that’s correct – fucking. Your Dad and I are clearly the ones to blame, that’s no secret. I suppose we have to try a little harder in the potty-mouth department, but fuck damn, it’s hard. The good news is, if there is any concerning such language, that you use it in correct context, and only at home around us. That’s a plus, right? Frankly, I’m a fan of words (shocker), and I do believe words, all of them, have a place in our vernacular. When used in a well-timed manner, they can give power and punctuation to ideas and meaning. We’ve never admonished you for the use of the F word, because we don’t want to make it any more seductive than it already is. That’s as far as we’ve gotten on that front. Hold your applause.The end.

Music remains a constant development in your life and your current top three favorite tunes are, All Through the Night, Run the World (Girls), and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Television shows include Daniel Tiger, Doc McStuffins, and Sofia the First. The most notable addition has been the 1970s Wonder Woman series. To say that you’re obsessed with Wonder Woman would be an understatement of gross proportions. The Wonder Woman outfit that Nana sent you is worn SEVERAL times a week. Just the other day, we were watching an episode we’ve all now seen twenty-two thousand times, and you looked at me and said, “Mama, Wonder Woman is going to save herself because she’s strong.” #momwin #wwscreentimeallday

My sweet Lucille, for all the good and growing you’re doing, we’ve stomped right into the treacherous land of Three. Your independence and need to do things your way is in full bloom. We are growing alongside you and are working hard to meet you head-on as these challenges appear. Sometimes following directions requires multiple redirections and the threat of taking something away, but in the end, more often than not, you make the right choice. Your energy is boundless, and we’ve recently enrolled you in gymnastics. You LOVE it. And I love that you love it. It matches your need to be physical and active, and provides such a wonderful healthy outlet. I don’t know if you’ll be doing this for a few months or a few years; I have zero expectations. My only expectation is that you enjoy what you’re doing, and when it becomes un-enjoyable, should it ever, we’ll reassess and move on if need be.

You are an undeniable and unavoidable mirror. It’s because of you I have had to learn, and continue to learn, to manage and reshape my innate temper and call upon the grace of patience and understanding. You are a chimera; a little girl with so many facets and faces, that sometimes, I’m certain breathes fire. Even when you are at your worst, my dear, I still love you with an explosion that is unrivaled. It is because of you I am becoming a better person. That I think about what I’m doing, and saying, more than I have ever considered in my life. And I’m learning to take better care of myself, an important part of being your mama, something I take very seriously. This world can be unkind to women, and I want to arm you with a tower of confidence, strength, and an awareness. I can say all the things, but if I do none of the things, then it’s all for nothing. You are watching me closely, and I know this.

Friday was your final day in the toddler room; you were Queen of the hill. On Tuesday, you will move to the preschool room, whiplashed back to the bottom. As with all starts, I expect there will be a transition, but I think you’ll find this new room to be fun and exciting.

Your birthday falls shortly after the autumnal equinox; a time of transition and reflection, a phase of duality where both light and dark exist, and the ushering in of the long shadows of winter. Some fear this darkness, this silence, but this is where we learn and reflect upon the harvest reaped. Right now, this is you, my love, and my most favorite time of the year. While I am challenged by your shifting moods, it has also forced me to look inward, and I’m pacing myself to keep up with you.

On this birthday I wish for you more discovery of the world. You are everything I never knew I ever wanted, and needed, in a daughter: a fierce, furniture-climbing, armchair-jumping, somersault rolling, happy, determined, strong, twirling, imaginative, bright-eyed three year-old.


Happy Birthday, my sweet Lucille.

8.13.2016

Light


This is where you are right now; caught somewhere between the shadows of who and what you're becoming, and the light of what you already know.

And I'm beside you.

In the thick of it all, bobbing and weaving between the pendulum of your emotions.

I'm beside you, and kid, let me tell you, this is punishing. Because in the most demanding way it's not physical, a sore muscle that needs rest; it's unrelenting and arduous, because it's emotional.

Whomever coined the term "terrible twos," clearly had not yet encountered a three year-old. I've become quite familiar with the phrase "threenager," and it seems to fit Lucy perfectly. We've also used, on occasion, Lussolini, as when she gets into a mood, there's no room for democracy, only a vehement dictatorship. I have made many jokes this summer about how I may not survive this year, and while I chuckle, inside, I'm desperate to help us both through this necessary, yet aggravating challenge.

I've reached out to the wiser, more experienced, and they've all returned the same trifecta of sentiments: this is normal, we will survive, and it's only a phase. All three remain close to my heart and nerves, and I repeat them like mantras when the little turd refuses to sit still long enough for me to comb out the rat's nest that has formed in her hair because she refused to let me braid it and keep it out of her face for the day.

Exasperation doesn't even come close.

When researching the psychology and developmental stage of an (almost) three year-old - the stark contrast of emotions, stubbornness, need to feel independent whilst still screaming for mama because the shadows in her room made it scary - I'm not surprised. Watching her deal is one thing, and then experiencing my own reaction is another: one moment rage seethes just beneath my flesh, and the next, I want to wrap her up in my arms and never let her go.

Parenting this little girl strikes me as a parallel to what she's actually undergoing. Maybe that's Nature's way of helping us through this seventh circle of hell? Some twisted sort of empathy?

I reached out to her pediatrician, whom I adore, never judges, and always reassures. I needed some validation from a professional. When I described what was going on, she responded with:

"I wish I could make this all go away, as it is very stressful. Her behavior is normal. 3 year-olds think they can do it all on their own, especially bright articulate children. Remain calm, loving, but firm...often what they need is recognition of their feelings. It's just a phase. The hard part is not knowing the duration. Surely it will go up and down."

It's a carousel, Lucy. We're on your beloved "carouself," going up and down, round and round. Sometimes the view is spectacular, and sometimes it isn't.

While she's navigating the choppy waters of her emotions, the sharp corners of what she's feeling, overwhelmed and unable to cope, I'm sourcing stores of patience at the bottom of what feels like a nearly dry well. Most days I can manage, but there are plenty when I look at her - screaming in my face about needing to watch Wonder Woman right now and wanting to drink chocolate milk from the blue cup - that I turn from her and walk away. Like actually walk away to another room, telling her not to follow me, and give me a minute.

Then she panics. And follows me, screaming louder, no mama, don't be sad, don't go. She knows. She knows and somehow that's reassuring, that in the midst of all this bullshit, she's beginning to understand that actions come with reactions. The other day, after a series of infuriating behaviors, what they were I couldn't even tell you because they were so inconsequential (but there were about thirty billion that happened in rapid fire succession), I started to cry. Full on ugly cry, right there on the couch. Lucy became distraught, and began to cry herself. She hovered over me, wiping my tears, repeating, no mama, please don't cry, don't be sad, I love you so much. And that made me cry harder.

Because I'm her mama and I want to help her understand these big feelings that are inundating her. Because she's growing up, and I'm desperate to sleep well again and not have to go into her room when she cries out for me. Because I'm terrified she won't cry out for me. Because it's all so big and amazing and demanding.

And then I look at these photos taken this morning, dark images of this little person in between worlds, the light catching her profile, and in that moment, I forget all the yuck.

Because I love her so much.


3.20.2016

Big Girl Room

My Sweet Lucille,


Today is officially the first day of spring, and tonight, for the first time, you will sleep in your "big white bed." Friday afternoon, we shipped you off to Grandma's so that I could have time to refresh what was once your nursery and transform it into a room befitting of the toddler you have become. Despite the months of scouring Etsy, shopping sales, and snagging pieces for this project, I was, once again, wholly unprepared for the emotional force with which I would be hit.

My mama heart ached Thursday night, the last time I would lay you down in the crib that you've slept in since we brought you home from the hospital. I choked up on the phone with your Dad when I spoke to him Friday evening, letting him know it would only be appropriately ceremonious that he be the one to take down the crib he'd assembled. My friend, Britt, remarked of this milestone that, "one of the greatest gifts of motherhood is the ability to notice the significance of these moments." Rest assured that every single one of these leaves an indelible mark.


The experience of dismantling the nursery I'd spent hours putting together, was cathartic. Necessary, even. Each piece I removed from the walls was purgative. Every hole patched and sanded was a reminder that, "Nothing gold can stay." I teared up. I was present. I allowed myself to feel all the feels. For as much as I want to freeze every stage of your life, to keep you gold for a little while longer, this life of yours, is growing. And with each milestone achieved, my mama heart aches with the realization that you were never really mine. You belong to yourself, and it is simply my incredibly fortunate privilege to be your mother.

This big girl room is a reflection of the marvelous little girl you've become. While you still wear pull-ups at night, for all intents and purposes, you are potty trained. This past fall you visited the dentist for the first time and got an excellent oral bill of health. You continue to love to dance and "twirl." Winter, this time around, was much kinder to you, and it appears as though what everyone told us - that business about immune systems being built in the fires of those first two winters - was right. There were a few ear infections, and a mild case of walking pneumonia, but as a whole, you were generally a healthy kid during these historically trying months. You still LOVE to swing on the swings, play with chalk on the sidewalk, and read. Read, read, read, all day long. Your imagination, Lucille, is incredible. I could listen to the tales you spin, endlessly.

Then there's Wonder Woman. Perhaps this was some of my doing; even so, you've taken on your adoration for the warrior princes of the Amazons. And I'm okay with that - winky smiley face.

Redecorating your room involved using some of the pieces that already existed such as your Wonder Woman tin and clock; I just enhanced what was there. You see, Lucille, you're still the same spirit you were the day you were born, and this refreshed room, reflects that sentiment. Those long feet we all marveled at, are the very same, and now the ones that take you sprinting down hills and leaping off rocks.

When you come home today and see your new room for the first time, I hope you love it. I hope it provides for you the space to play, to explore, to flourish. I hope we stockpile another cache of memories within these walls.

Taking down that crib was a forever goodbye to the final vestige of your babyhood. Because you are my one and only, every first is the last first, and every last is the last. And just when it feels as though my mama heart can't bear the hurt of one more landmark crossed, I'm bolstered by the little voice that is yours, when now, nightly, you must say, I love you, Mommy. Sweet dreams, Mommy.

In a few weeks you will be 2.5 years old.

You are "my best girl," my sugar cookie, my captivating chaos, my queen of all wild things, my beautiful mess. Loving you is a dazzling adventure. Welcome to your big girl room, Lucille.





12.21.2015

Santa



My friend, Jen, over at Real Life Parenting, recently wrote about how she buys All The Things for her kids at Christmas. I loved everything she said, and especially her insightful reflection as to how, while this was about her kids and giving them what she felt would be an amazing Christmas morning, it was also about her – about redeeming the early December 25th mornings that she'd always wished she had.

Lucy is just two this year, but all be damned if she doesn’t already know about “Santa Cwause” and that he brings presents. We were standing outside on our porch the other day when a neighbor walked by with their dog. The neighbor woman asked Lucy if Santa would be coming soon, and my precocious daughter’s reply was simply, “He bring me presents.” The girl has figured it out.

Lately I’ve been hearing chatter surrounding how some folks are choosing not to lie to their children about Santa. And while I firmly believe that everyone has to do what they feel is best for their own family, I’m going to be clear about something: we WILL most definitely be lying to Lucy about Santa.

I have incredibly fond memories of Christmas as a child, the anticipation coursing through my kid body, and the absolute over-the-top excitement on Christmas morning that catapulted me out of bed and shot me like a rocket down the hallway and into the living room, was THE BEST. I loved Christmas so much that around Halloween, I would create one of those chains made out of construction paper and hang it around my room. For hours I’d sit on my bedroom floor, cutting out the strips of colorful paper and stapling the links together. It was always impossibly too long, but I needed a visual, something I could see that would tell me I was getting closer to that hallowed morning. Eventually, when the chain was manageable, sometime in early December, I’d transfer it to the living room where the rest of the family could join me in my jubilation of ripping a link off each night.

I’m fully aware that kids get absorbed by the self-centered craze of presents. More is more, and it’s all me, me, me. I get that. I WAS that. But, I was also excited to find and give presents. I worked hard to make sure I got my parents and brother gifts I thought they would like. I loved picking things out for friends and other family members. So while yes, I could not wait to tear through my own gifts on Christmas morning, I was also excited to give Mom and Dad their gifts, and see their faces as they opened what I’d picked out for them.

There’s also the sentiment that lying to kids about Santa is taking advantage of their naiveté, and possibly even hindering their intellectual development. It’s true, I read it in a Psychology Today article. For reals. I have no evidence other than myself, my husband, family and friends. We were all lied to, and we are all perfectly functioning adults. I promise.

Before I’d had Lucy, I’d come across the idea of the four gift rule: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. A completely sensible approach to gift giving. A way to keep the expectations in check. For her first and second Christmas, we sort of did follow that guideline, mainly because she was too young to understand. But now, she’s getting it, and folks it’s exciting to be on this end of things. To be the adult creating the magic for your kid. It must have been what my parents felt. Lucy is not getting a billion things this year, but she’s definitely getting more than just something to wear or read. And I CANNOT WAIT. I cannot wait to see her little face when she walks into the living room and she sees what Santa has left her. I cannot wait to see her tear through her presents. The giddiness I feel rivals that of my childhood self.

I get to do this all over again, but through her. Sure, I’ll admit this is self-serving, but dammit, it’s fun.

And because I want her to understand that Christmas is also about the spirit of family and giving, we are going to be starting some new traditions in our household. This year, Lucy and I signed up for Presents for Patients, through which we were matched with an elderly person at a nursing home near where we live, becoming their Secret Santa and surprising them with a couple of gifts. This past weekend, Lucy and I visited Josephine (the Moon’s namesake). It was an incredible experience. This lovely woman, 98 years young, was so happy to have us visit her. She even questioned what she’d done to deserve such gifts. My response to "Miss Josie" was simply that we were in the business of spreading good cheer and perpetuating the holiday spirit. By the end of our stay, Lucy even gave Miss Josie a high-five.

I will teach my daughter the spirit of Christmas and giving.
AND I will lie to her, unabashedly and without guilt or regret.
AND I will hold onto that Santa lie for as long as possible.

Merry Christmas.