My favorite part of Christmas

by Mrs. Smith on December 26, 2017

We shook things up this year and departed from tradition. Big time.
Well, not that there was anything wrong with the way we’ve always done it. We just thought that we could tailor something to fit our “unique family dynamics” a little better than what we’ve done before. It deserves its own post, but for this one I wanted to skip to my favorite part.

Little Miss H went to bed immediately after the post-Family-Night-jello was consumed. Maybe even a little before, because wow, she was ready.

An hour later, the boys went to bed, forgetting again what “and please be quiet” means, but thankfully not waking the sleeping princess.

C needed help figuring out how to get pictures off her new-to-her camera — and since she spent our family beach time napping in the sunshine, she really wasn’t anywhere near ready for bed.

Loading pictures quickly evolved quickly into the 3 of us scrolling backwards through time, watching everyone get younger and littler and cuter as the minutes went by. Every once in a while we’d find a video and watch it, squealing and laughing at how different-but-the-same they all were.
“Is that MY voice? I sound like I’ve just breathed helium!”

Amazing, what a difference 4 years makes when you’re 13.
The 8 and 6yo’s too — Their little baby voices! Oh, how adorable!

I found myself wishing I’d set up a security camera in the living room and recorded entire days. I don’t think Mr. Smith and I could ever get enough of it. Well, okay, that’s probably a slight exaggeration, but only slight.

The adorable factor was pretty incredible, but it was obvious from the footage preserved that mama really did well to catch the moments she did. No wonder some of them turned out sideways.

Those kids were fast. They were intense. They were endlessly needy every waking minute, and quite a lot of the sleeping minutes too.

Sometimes we could tell who who was behind the camera by the activities they were engaged in. This one was definitely Daddy.

We discovered a sizable gap in pictures when the youngest hit that age where every time we took our phones out to take a picture, she did this:

Ah, those were the days, I tell you what!

My heart felt full to bursting and my eyes filled with tears more than once. They were so cute. So, so, so, so cute, in fact, it reduces my writing capacity to elementary descriptions like “so cute.”

It is almost unfathomable how little time has actually passed. Most of the heart-melting stuff we watched was in the last 3 or 4 years. Only 4 years, and they’ve practically (and literally in many cases) doubled in size! Only 4 years and they’re… wow. They same and yet utterly transformed.

It’s comforting and exciting, though, to see that “sameness” persisting in them. They’re still adorable. They’re still quirky and funny and charming. C is still bossing them around, D is still quietly doing what he wants anyway, E is still trying to prove he’s just as big as D, F is still singing and dancing all the time, G is still practicing those ninja moves, and H is still… loud. It’s kind of predictably magical watching it unfold.

They’re just a little more articulate and a lot more capable. If possible, they’re even more loved now than they were then.

This thing called parenting…

I tell you what. It renders me rather speechless.

I’m unspeakably grateful for each one of them.

I’m thankful we were brave enough to try –

and stupid enough to not really count the cost beforehand because –

we were smart enough to know we wouldn’t regret it in the long run. Not really.

Also, you can’t really know the cost beforehand. I knew that, too, which is why I didn’t really do much calculating after our first was born. The math didn’t make sense anyway. How could that much sickness, inconvenience, and pain = so much joy? 

You never know which kids are going to stretch you to your max and which kids are going to fill you back up. Often it’s the same kid on the same day, actually.

You can’t know before you have them how much you’re going to love them or how much you’re going to feel wholly inadequate to the task. You can’t know, but God does. And when you stay close to your creator, you get His help at the impossible.

Sometimes it’s lovely, sometimes it’s not, it’s pretty much always messy (at least here in Smithtopia), but you get used to it….

At any rate, things work out. They do. It’s a fun, wild ride while you’re at it.

And that little reminder was my favorite part of Christmas.


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