It’s Christmastime which is ultimately my favorite time of year. As exhausting as this season can be, I look forward to experiencing everything through yours and Miles’s eyes. I’ve always loved this time of year but having children makes this time of year even more special and magical. I’ve been putting together an advent calendar for several years now–since you were a wee little toddler and if I’m being perfectly honest, I created it because it was the only way I could get your Grinch father out of the house and into the holiday spirit. He really can’t rebuke Christmas light bingo when the calendar says it’s so. I try to change it up a bit but I always bring back the classic tried-and-true favorites e.g. Christmas light tour with hot chocolate, watch a play, and my personal favorite–ice cream sundaes for dinner (like I need a reason to eat ice cream for dinner).
On a recent advent calendar activity, we went to Deacon Dave’s as we normally do but this year we were fortunate to go on a private tour through his house! Dad’s client is actually a member of St. Michael’s Church and had arranged the tours as part of the company holiday party. When your Dad had asked if I would be interested in participating, first, I was dumbfounded that he would even have to ask and two, hell yeah! I’ve been visiting Deacon Dave’s every Christmas for as long as I can remember and I have vivid memories of peering into Deacon Dave’s window, intrigued of what his home would be like from the inside looking out.
As we walked into his home and were greeted by the Deacon Dave, I couldn’t help but feel in total awe of the moment. We toured every single room of his house and I mean every room–bathroom and bedroom included. Every room was filled with treasures–either gifted to him, picked up from his own personal trips, items made by his Grandmother–almost every item in his house had special meaning to him. We even toured the chapel he had built in his backyard filled with so many beautiful antiques including a chalice from Jerusalem dating back hundreds of years. You were in awe the entire time–fully enraptured from the relics we were seeing and the stories we were hearing. Obviously, the full weight of the moment was probably missed on your behalf and that’s ok. You will look back hopefully with some memory of this evening and hopefully remember it as a special experience because for me, it most certainly was.
On the topic of new experiences, we recently visited the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco which is a pop-up experience centralized around the theme of ice cream. This is one of several pop-up experiences showing up around the country and they are meant to be visually stunning, random, artsy, vibrant and photo-worthy but beyond that, that’s all they really are. They are not permanent fixtures so the idea is you get in and visit asap because there’s no guarantee the establishment will be there the following month. A few months back, we visited The Color Factory which is similar in nature and you and Miles had a blast so I jumped at the opportunity to check out another similar experience.
MOIC is housed in an old bank and as you traverse from room to room, you’re not only met with visually stunning rooms, you’re greeted with ice cream treats! It’s true, we’re still finding sprinkles days after having jumped into the sprinkle pit but it’s a fun reminder of the experience. While these pop-ups are interesting and weird, I’m not sure how long this trend will be around but I’m enjoying the experiences with you and Miles while we can.
I feel like every Christmas I wonder if this will be the last Christmas that you truly believe. I catch hints and whispers from you regarding the magic of this time of year and mostly this is due to things you hear at school. I’ve always held the position that you’re free to believe in what you want and for however long you want. You’ve asked me before if I move our elf or if Santa is real and so on and I’ve always in turn asked what you believe–Do you think our elf is real? Do you think Santa Claus visits our home on Christmas Eve night? So far, your answers have always been, yes, and so I leave it at that. If you believe, that’s what matters. Some kids and adults don’t believe and that’s ok. It’s not wrong and it’s not right. It’s what you hold in your heart and what you make of the season that matters most.
I have a few more surprises in store for you and your brother this Christmas which will be revealed in due time but for now, I’m trying my best to pump the brakes and slow life down so we can truly enjoy and savor every lasting moment because I look at you and see a young lady growing so fast in front of me. Just the other day you asked me if you can pierce your ears–ack, it’s happening! How many years are left of us singing, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, before bedtime or leaving handwritten letters to our elf asking what her favorite holiday activity is? When will you deem yourself too old to visit Santa Claus or enjoy driving around and looking at Christmas lights? My heart hopes you will never be too old and I secretly dread the day that you’re too busy to participate in a full-scale O’Donnell-Holiday-Advent-Palooza but I will squeeze out every last bit I can because damn, these moments are fleeting and I have so much more to experience with you.
This Christmas, I’m asking Santa Claus for a time machine so I can revisit these moments whenever I want. Santa, don’t let me down.
P.S. Since I’m not as vigilant in writing to you these days, here is a Top Ten List of things that best describe who you are today:
- Your current favorite show is “The Goldbergs” and is currently replacing your Saturday morning cartoons.
- You and your friends at school have started a club called, The Savage Club, where you do “savage things”…I dare not ask.
- You consider yourself a bonafide Taylor Swift fan despite me introducing so much music to you.
- You LOVE Christmas songs and are often listening to various Spotify Christmas playlists and know all the words to the most random of the group.
- You think Pusheen is the most brilliant thing that ever was.
- You love graphic novels.
- You play the first level of Super Mario World over and over to earn me extra lives so I can try to beat Bowser’s Castle.
- You’re fluent in Pokemon.
- You still believe rice is a byproduct of the devil.
- You’re wiser beyond your years and nobody will ever be good enough for you.
P.S.S. I plan to haunt you when I’m long gone so I can keep tabs on whether you’re still making good life choices. This is your warning.