Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Merry

Merry Christmas, everyone! What follows is a not-so-brief recounting of our Christmas so far, parts 1 through 3 (of 5) of Harry's first Christmas.

This year, we decided not to do the whole eight-houses-in-four-days thing. It seemed a bit much to ask of an infant. Sadly, though, my grandfather is too old/frail to travel, so we weren't able to eliminate much driving but were able to spread it out a bit more. So we will do five houses in seven days (four down), which seemed a slight bit more reasonable in the planning, though weather resulted in very poor driving conditions thus far, turning what should have been 8-8.5 hours of driving into 14 hours or pure suckage.

Saturday, we headed to my grandfather's house for Christmas part 1. What is normally a two hour and forty-five minute trip took four hours because of the snow. Harry miraculously slept the whole drive. We cursed the situation anyway, and then felt like we should have been thankful as it took us six hours to get home on Sunday. Seriously, snow? I hate you. We debated stopping forty-five miles from home and getting a hotel room, as it was starting to get ridiculous on the roads. Instead, we stopped when we were 15 miles from home, as the baby was awake and we both had to use the bathroom. I changed and fed Harry at the rest stop and then somehow the roads had cleared up enough that we got home in 25 minutes. It was our Christmas miracle.

It was pretty awesome to see my grandfather with Harry. Papa was often a pretty awesome grandfather -- he read us stories from books and made others up for us, elaborate tales of a mouse called Squeaky. He was an expert hand-washer -- so good that we looked forward to getting scrubbed up by him before meals. And his love for my grandmother, who died twenty-six years ago, has always stood as a example to me of how amazing and powerful love can be. That said, he was also, on occasion, a bit of a bully. Sadly, as the years have gone on, he has become increasingly unwell health-wise, though he has stayed fairly coherent -- no small feat at 92. And with those years has come a tendency to say exactly what he thinks at any given moment, often very loudly due to his increasing deafness, with little regard to the feelings of others, really exacerbating his bullying tendencies. So I wasn't really sure what to expect from him. It turns out, I needn't have been concerned. He was so excited to get to spend time with his great-grandson. He really doted on him, calling him the little prince and kissing his hands over and over. Whenever Harry was out of sight, my grandfather immedietely asked "Where's the baby now?" And Harry seemed as excited as his Big Papa was, all smiles for him. Christmas number one was exhausting, but I am so glad we made the trip.

Christmas part 2 was our annual "family Christmas", which has expanded over the years to include P, my brother's wife, and my dad's wife. (We hit traffic for this one too, though it was just traffic and not weather.) It was pretty low key. And that was fine with me. But we hit enough traffic on the way home that we only had time to run into the house, change Harry's diaper, change our own clothes, and run back out the door for what seemed like the longest Christmas service ever at church. P went (reluctantly) because I asked him too, and I'm now afraid that he'll never come again, which sucks since Christmas is such a nice service even if you don't think of it as anything more than the celebration of the birth of some baby two millenia ago. I love the music and the candles and the quiet beauty of it. Without it, Christmas feels so rushed and so commercial and so hollow. After Harry went to bed, we had dinner, then put together his main present from us, a jumperoo.

This morning, otherwise known as Christmas part 3, I put out the new stockings I got for us with our names embroidered on them, including one for Buddy (there's actually a great story about Buddy's stocking that I'll save for another day). We opened presents (almost all of which were for Harry -- mostly clothes, some books, and some small toys, much coming from the BabyCenter store clearance sale). Harry most enjoyed the gift bag that I had put a tie for P into. He loved to hold onto the handle and shake it. Ah, the simple things.

As you can see, though, he also loved the jumperoo. He's still a bit small for it -- we put the biggest phone book we have beneath it for him to jump on. But he doesn't know the difference.

So, it's time to make the sweet potato casserole and green beans for Christmas part 4 at Ps mom's house this evening, then home to sleep and get ready for Christmas part 5. My mom is coming here, which means more work but less driving and something that more resembles a routine for Harry.

I hope you and yours have had a good one.


Jen said...

Merry Christmas to you! Harry is so cute!

Nicky said...

Merry Merry Christmas! Hope you enjoy 4 and 5.