Quitter’s first Christmas with her daughters…Alright. It’s happening. I’m finally leaning into this holiday spirit thing and going to throw down a beautiful, moving Christmas story. That’s right, Quitter’s briefly relinquishing her Grinch status to bring you all the feels.
Christmas to me has always been a time to be with family. In fact I actually can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t want a family of my own. So it should come as no surprise that our first Christmas with the girls is an easy standout for me as my all time best.
In the interest of full disclosure, it was actually Boxing Day and the girls were still in foster care and not “ours,” yet, or even living with us. (Adopting children from the child welfare system can be a long, agonizing process and not for the faint of heart. But that’s a post for another time.)
Their regular foster family was going to be away for the week between Christmas and New Years and we were asked if the girls could spend the week with us. Needless to say we jumped at the chance. Even now I can still picture them getting dropped off at our front door, all bundled up against the cold, pulling their tiny suitcases on wheels behind them. They were so small.
It was an exhausting and exhilarating week filled with early mornings, playing in the snow, baking cookies, Christmas movies and endless bedtime stories. Ordinary activities for most families, but it felt like heaven to me. I’d dreamt about a time in my life like this, but the reality was so much better.
One of my most vivid early memories of my children is of having one of the twins snuggled up on my lap watching the old version of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. You know, the one with Burl Ives voicing the oddly well-dressed snowman. I remember thinking to myself that this is what love feels like. This is what family feels like. In that moment there was no doubt in my mind that this is what I wanted, that we all belonged together. And even though the girls didn’t join my partner and I permanently for several more months after that, to me it was the moment that we became a family.
Now, thirteen years later, as I listen to the girls argue and spend Christmas morning waiting for what seems like forever for them to finally come downstairs, I need to remind myself of that time, of that feeling. I chose this. We chose each other. And there is nothing more important then family.