Tonight I was lying down with Gabe, singing our bedtime songs (which have started including Christmas songs for the season) and telling my "when you were a little girl" stories. I told about how I'd stay up alot of the night because I was so excited, how my siblings and I would go in and wake up my parents, and how we'd line up from youngest to oldest before going down the stairs. I told him we'd open our stockings first - and he wanted to know what I'd get in my stocking. I told him what the usual items were - he got a chuckle out of the idea that I would get underwear in my stocking (poor kid is going to be disappointed when he sees all the undies 'sants' bought to stuff into his stocking this year....) Then as I thought it was about time to sneak out of the room and escape to my own bed Gabe says, "Mom - what was your very favorite Christmas present ever?"
I thought for about a mili-second - but I knew right away what my favorite Christmas present was - it was Gabe. It was just a few weeks before Christmas - 4 years ago - that we found out (totally surprisingly) that we were expecting our first baby. I remember finding out while I was working on Cory's Christmas present (a quilt I made him as a surprise) and wondering if there was any possible way I could hold it in until Christmas morning to tell him. (I think it was like the 10th of December - or somewhere around that). I remember thinking of creative ways to break the news, and after telling Cory - I wondered how we could make it a surprise for others.
So during this season as we talk about the little baby Jesus, and about his mother Mary at Christmas-time - I feel a little connection. I think of my little baby who had been only a dream until my Christmas wish came true. I think about how just weeks before finding out about the pregnancy I had hit my lowest point of frustration and depression about the lack of a baby. I think about the "deals" I made as I prayed to Heavenly Father - telling Him that all I wanted for Christmas - or the rest of my life - was to be a mom and hold a little baby. I begged and pleaded for my righteous desires to come true - and for my wish to be granted. So when I think of Christmas I think of those elated weeks before Christmas in 2004 when my Christmas dream had come true.
Then flash to tonight as I said goodnight to Gabe, with tears in my eyes after telling him that finding out we were going to have HIM was the best Christmas gift I'd ever been given. He said, "No Mom - what was your favorite present UNDER THE TREE?!?" I explained to him that the best presents don't always come under the tree, or are even wrapped in paper and bows. He seemed a bit confused - but said, "Ok Mom".
Then I tucked him in and gave him a kiss. I walked out the door of his room and heard a whisper, "Wait Mom - come back." I kind of rolled my eyes - hoping that he wasn't going to stall for hours - I went over to the side of his bed and asked "yes Gabe?". He held his arms out wide and said in the most tender, sincere voice I've heard, "Mom - I will love you to infinity and beyond." He then gave me another special Christmas gift. Not one that is wrapped, or one that costs money - but an amazing hug and kiss. I was taken back to the moment when I first told Cory we would be parents - and all that love flodded my heart. Those tender mercies we are allowed are truly the precious gifts of the season.