It’s January which means it’s time for me to make resolutions that I have no intention of following through with: running a half marathon? Ha! Eliminating sugar? Haha! Becoming the perfect parent I always imagined myself to be? Hahaha! Clearly, you’re taking my lead since you made a resolution in your classroom to be nicer to your brother. A resolution that was made 45 minutes before you punched your brother in the stomach. When I reminded you about your resolution, you merely shrugged your shoulders and replied, eh, there’s always next year. My thoughts exactly.
The holidays just wrapped up and as much as I love immersing myself in everything Christmas, it is nice to settle back into a routine. Throughout the holiday, I couldn’t help thinking to myself whether this would be your last Christmas that you truly believe in the presence of Santa. You’re at an age now when a little bit of that magic starts to disappear. I’ve heard your fellow classmates talk amongst themselves, alerting those that do believe that Santa is for babies–the big guy doesn’t exist. A lot of them flat out say that their parents told them the truth and admitted to being behind the big show all along. This makes my heart hurt. I hope you’ll treat the holidays much like I did when I was your age. I don’t remember when I stopped believing nor did I ever mention it to my parents when I did. Grandma loves Christmas and the magic of the holidays so much that I knew it would break her heart if I admitted that I didn’t believe. I don’t recall ever flat out admitting it and deep down, I hope you don’t either. Obviously, you’re a smart kid and if you haven’t figured it out yet, I know you will. Grandma always did an amazing job of not focusing so much on Santa but more on the spirit of Christmas: showing warmth and compassion towards others, being with family and overall, being grateful for everything we had. We thrived on holiday traditions, many of which I still remember to this day. Sure, presents didn’t hurt but I also enjoyed everything else that was attached to this time of year. Because of my upbringing and the enjoyment that the holidays brought me, it’s only natural that I would want you and Miles to bask in the same holiday glory.
The Advent calendar was back with full force and now that you and Miles are in school full time, it makes it rather difficult to keep up with all the activities I had planned for the month of December. The sugar junkie in me always looks forward to the traditional ice cream sundae for dinner that took place this year at Fentons. Good grief, does that place know how to make damn good ice cream. I’m lactose intolerant thanks to my days of eliminating dairy from my diet when Miles had a lactose intolerance but sometimes, you just have to accept that you’re going to suffer and it will be totally worth it. Eating a sundae for dinner doesn’t seem like a big event or even a traditional holiday activity but it’s one of the few times when we’re all sitting together, eating joyfully with stupid giant smiles on our faces. It’s silly but it’s truly an occurrence that I look forward to every year.
We went to Gilroy Gardens with Papa and GG to experience the park’s holiday lights event and partake in their holiday dinner. I love Gilroy Gardens because the park itself is small, the rides are geared towards younger kids and the place is never crowded. We were once again reminded that you’re growing up too fast and for the first time, you weren’t allowed to enjoy a couple rides because of your height. You cried, I cried, Miles cheered because he got to ride by himself. You were, however, of a certain height which allowed you to ride every other ride in the park–some rides you’ve never been allowed to ride on. For the first time, you rode with me on the mushroom swing which for you is an amazing feat. It’s not a traditional swing but a swing that rises up and you swing out and around with your feet dangling. I have a handful of random moments that stay with me–moments that are so special that you beg yourself to never forget. My entire mind can leave me but these few special moments must stay. This was one of those moments. It was dark with the exception of the holiday lights strewn around the park. It wasn’t raining but it was certainly misting on our faces and the smile on your face was so big and genuine. You were slightly terrified but you were also overwhelmed with joy and excitement that you started laughing hysterically. We did it just the two of us as Dad, Miles, Papa & GG cheered us on. It was perfect.
The decision to not travel during the holidays was really the best decision as it allowed us to take several day trips. Your dad still had to work a few days during your time off so on one afternoon, I took you and your brother to a astronaut-in-training event that was being held at the Chabot Space and Science Center. The event was for school-aged children and consisted of several workstations that mimicked what it would be like if you were to prepare to be an astronaut and travel to the International Space Station. You absolutely loved the event. You bounced from station to station eager to try your hand at the specific tasks. Miles joined you at a few stations but quickly lost interest and wandered outside the room where he pretended to fight droids in a model spacecraft. The big moment came when you were allowed to touch a real astronaut suit that was worn by a Russian astronaut. You listened intently to the docent that was explaining all the different pieces of the suit. You then proceeded to tell her how you plan to go to the moon when you’re a grown up so you can jump around. Living in the Bay Area gives me anxiety for many reasons but I also consider us incredibly lucky that we’re in such close proximity to amazing places like the Chabot Space Center. For a kid like you who loves space, this is really a top notch place to visit on a random afternoon.
For the first time ever, you and your brother stayed up until midnight on New Years Eve. Your late night partying was made possible by hot chocolate, caramel corn, popcorn, holiday treats and Harry Potter. I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series to you and Miles for some time now and I always treat you two to a movie night once the book is finished. New Years Eve was no exception so with your new Hermione wand in hand, we watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. You and Miles love the series and having never read the books myself, I thoroughly enjoy reading them to you both and experiencing all the moments that were cut from the movies. I must admit, the books are always better. I timed the movie just right so it would end fifteen minutes before the ball drop. Of course, no New Years Eve is complete without watching some kind of “Rockin’ Eve” show on television. You were introduced to Ryan Seacrest, Puff Daddy, Mase and the always confusing Jenny McCarthy. Upon watching her, both you and Miles turned to me and asked, why does she act like that? Ah, one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
Ice skating is one of those events that we do once in a year but never more. We must have been feeling adventurous this year because we added a second ice skating event to our holidays. There is a rink in Livermore that is more than sufficient for our once a year ice skating extravaganza but for New Years, I decided to take a day trip up to Santa Rosa to visit Snoopy’s Home Ice which is the ice rink that was brought to fruition by the Charles Schulz. We had only popped our heads in the rink once before when you were around the age of one and haven’t returned since. I thought given how much you love ice skating, it might be a nice treat to check out such an iconic place. The rink really exceeded my expectations. For once, we didn’t have to pay rental fees, the rink is huge and they held a free lesson on the ice for those who wanted to learn some basic skills. Another nice feature were the chairs that they provided to those who needed something to lean on to as they learned to maneuver around the ice which quickly turned into moving obstacles for those who were trying desperately not to fall and break their bodies (me). Nothing makes me learn faster than participating in an activity that could ultimately lead to a cracked skull. Yay!
As I look back at the holidays, I’m incredibly grateful that we spent it together as a family and we were fortunate enough to participate in all the wonderful events that we did. Every day when I look at your tiny face, I’m reminded that you’re growing up and changes are inevitable and perhaps one day, holidays will be different as you and your brother beg us not to drag you to one more family function. I know there’s a strong possibility that this may be your last truly magical holiday and as much as this pains me, I have to accept it and acknowledge it happens and is expected. It’s not like I want you to be the strange thirty year old who still thinks a man climbs down the chimney once a year with an elf who walks around the house at night. Yeah, I’m sure that adult would be called delusional and would require a visit to a mental health professional. We don’t have to take it that far. Even I know where to draw the line.