I should warn you now: I tend to go through these completely giddy, grateful, so-happy-with-life-phases, and I'm sort of having one now...It's not that everything is perfect. Because it's not. And frankly, it never will be. I don't really believe in Perfect. Perfect is what someone else's life looks like- from the OUTSIDE. Real life, and real living, is messy and imperfect, but still sometimes so giddy and wonderful, for no-reason-at-all. I am just loving life right now. Today I was told: "It is amazing how much your boys love life- both of them. You can see it in the way they get excited about small things and even more so in the way they look at you. It isn't hard to see where they get that- because you look at them the same way." (This is paraphrased and smooshed together from a lengthier conversation.) What I hope is true is that my passion for living is contagious to my children. We are not wealthy, and we might never be, but both Charles and I chose paths in our lives dictated by passions and what we love about life. I like to think that this is a good key to keeping life in perspective. I think at this time of year, it's especially important, but sometimes difficult to keep it all in perspective. We want to give our children everything, but not literally everything. As a parent, my challenge is to find a way to make the holidays special without all of the stuff losing it's meaning. This year, no matter how many times I ask Christian what he wants from Santa, he says, "A bear." That's it. I love that.
...Not a fully automated, ride-on miniature Hum V...in black (like I saw this weekend at one of my events).
We had tickets to a great Brunch with Santa, this weekend. The food was elaborate, there were costumed Christmas Carolers, and then there was a photo-op with Santa, who gave each child a toy (pre-provided, so as to fulfill a "Santa's wish list"). We went with my Mom and Dad, and my sister's youngest, Davin, who is only 6 months older than Christian. The boys had a blast. Seeing Santa was the absolute highlight, and Christian tore into his present. He was SO excited when he saw what it was: a puppy stuffed animal (who barks and wags his tail), complete with a puppy crate, and a full grooming and veterinarian set up. It's adorable, and Christian hasn't put it down since. By the time we saw Santa, Elijah was over it. He was tired and cranky and didn't give a hoot about an elderly man in a red suit. He was d.o.n.e. But, he did like his little car stacker toy and impressed me while playing with it tonight. I held one of the cars up, and showed him how the wheel spins. He reached out- straight for the tire- took a little grab, and spun the tire! I nearly cried...okay, I did cry. It's not that I don't expect him to do these things, it's just that I have so thoroughly checked my expectations at the door right now, that I get caught off guard when he achieves a milestone or does something so smart, like copying me in some way. I like that I'm not worrying about why isn't he doing this or why isn't he doing that...it's almost as if Down syndrome gave me a free pass to just wait and see. BabyCenter.com sends me weekly updates of what my baby should be doing now. I don't read them. What's the point? Half the time, my completely typical older son didn't do "what he might be doing now" milestones in those books and online updates. So, why would I stress myself about it when I know Elijah will have delays. It's kind of freeing.
I have reached a milestone, of sorts, myself. Two years ago, I went through the certification process to become a personal trainer so that I could teach for a new Stroller Strides location. Stroller Strides is a Mom and Baby fitness program that I fell in love back when Christian was a baby, and so I jumped at the chance to start teaching for them. Unfortunately, between the costs of re-certifying, the time constraints it puts on me as a Mom of two, and the TLC that is still needed to get that location off the ground, it just isn't making sense for me anymore. I'm a little sad about it, though. It's probably just a small realization that you can't do everything- even when you love it. So, I'm hanging up my teacher sneakers and will go back to just working out with the girls at the other location, on occasion. Sniff. Sniff.
Some of the most exciting news we've had in awhile is that we'll be going back east to see Charles family right after Christmas!!! Yay! I realized that we haven't been there since before Christian could walk. And a further realization was that we actually didn't do any out of state traveling in all of 2009...?? Is that true? Wow. So, a trip back east is very exciting. We're keeping our fingers crossed for snow, since neither of the boys have really been in snow before. We're even stocked up on super warm snow outfits, just in case. It's funny- I was so worried about traveling with Christian as a baby , but I'm not too worried now...maybe I should be, but I think we've got good ages for it this time around. Christian is old enough to think it's exciting, and a few phone games and maybe a DVD or two should help do the trick. Elijah is such a cuddle bug and can't get around yet anyway, so really it shouldn't be too bad. The hard part is just going to be the actual, physical carting of everyone and everything. I try to think of it as just a hard day of work. In a confined space. Where people can give you the evil eye. Eh-whatever. It'll be fine.
See? There are benefits to being a second time Mom...