Note: This column appears in the 12/17 issue of The Glendale Star and the 12/18 issue of the Peoria Times
It hadn’t really felt like Christmas.
For one thing, my wife and I decided weeks ago that we wouldn’t be going back east for the holidays this year. Knowing we wouldn’t be with family subconsciously and adversely affected our Christmas spirit.
Having to return our two foster kiddos just before Thanksgiving didn’t help either. And all of the chores, purchases and appointments that we’d avoided in the past months as a result of being too busy had kept us too busy to notice the holidays were, in fact, here.
(It should also be mentioned that, in my annual attempt to force myself into the Christmas mood, I started listening to the “Christmas music only” radio station way too early yet again. If I hear another version of “Jingle Bell Rock” I am going to bash my car radio with a baseball bat.)
But all that changed last Monday. We had a storm come through here that brought overcast skies, rain, wind and cold (at least by Arizona standards). I was off of work that day and my wife didn’t have to go in until the early afternoon. Our television was tuned to the holiday station and we had our coffees and all of our decorations were up.
None of those things however, served to explain why it finally felt like Christmas. Because the best part of that day was spending it with the three-month old baby girl who we hope to call our daughter one day very soon.
Allow me to explain. The week our foster kiddos went back we received the amazingly great news that we were chosen to be the prospective adoptive parents of a baby girl. The process that ensued served to explain why the holidays had gotten away from us. Of course we were thrilled at the joy this Christmas could bring, but we were also anxious to meet her and find out more about her and have her in our home.
It had been a whirlwind of car rides here and there, meetings, phone calls and paperwork. Everything felt right to us from the beginning, but meeting her was better than we ever could have hoped for. And while nothing is quite official and won’t be until at least the middle of this upcoming year, there’s no going back now. It’s already too late. There was no going back when we first laid eyes on her.
We brought her home on Sunday and last Monday was her first full day in her new home. The wind howled outside and the rain pounded the windows, but for most of the day she slept peacefully in her boppy on the couch. When my wife left for work I had her all to myself, and we played and I fed her and we watched bad Christmas movies on TV until she would doze off again.
All of a sudden it felt like the holidays more than it ever had back in the cold and snow of New Jersey. And even though we won’t be back east this year for the first time in our entire lives, it turns out we’ll be spending Christmas with our family after all.