Charlie’s First Christmas: Part One

Christmas was a special time for me growing up. I have warm memories of spending time with my family, my Dad yelling “Ho, Ho, Ho…Merry Christmas” up the stairs to wake my brother and me up (of course, we were already awake), laughing over the dumb dog who ate all the wrapping paper.

Each Christmas Eve, we’d gather together in front of the tree to make a video of us singing Christmas carols. The tradition began when we moved to California from New Jersey and sent videos back to the family left behind, and it continued long after we stopped sending the tapes. On the videos, my father makes funny faces behind our backs, my mother yells at him for being a pain, and my brother and I display talents we acquired during the year (trumpet, poem recitation, “Greensleeves” on keyboard, etc.). They are wonderful and hilarious, and I treasure them greatly.

The videos stopped in 2006, the year my father died. And with his passing went a lot of the joy of Christmas. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but one of the reasons I looked forward to Christmas was because my often-unapproachable father was at his best: happy, attentive, silly, loving, cuddly. There’s been a coldness to Christmas ever since.

This is my long way of saying that Christmas is regaining its warmth, and it’s all because of this wonderful baby. It’s impossible not to see Christmas through the eyes of your child, even one that’s only seven months old and has no idea what’s going on. The lights! The presents! The smell of pine!

Yes, Christmas was stressful. It’s tough to juggle the needs and wants of two families and your own needs and wants as parents. But underlining all of that was a constant sense of gratitude and love for this beautiful family that I have.

Merry Christmas, Charlie.

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