This Christmas we did not receive eight maids a-milking or seven swans a-swimming; there was not a single drummer or piper to provide musical inspiration for the absentee lords and ladies; and as for the rest of the birds, well sadly, they were a no-show too. We did, however, receive an unusual gift: a very energetic almost-but-not-quite-five year old boy. He arrived the day after Christmas.
So now I have two kids.
And I am exhausted. I mean…I’m exhausted. So exhausted I cannot can’t even be bothered with the superfluous “a” when a simple apostrophe will do.
And the reason I can’t be bothered with that superfluous “a” is because we did it all. A second Christmas. Multiple visits to the children’s museum. Trips to McDonald’s and the movies. Afternoons at Chuck E. Cheese. New Year’s Eve at Noon followed by New Year’s Eve Night Out. Pizza at the bouncy house. We watched Frozen. We listened to Frozen. We watched Frozen. We discovered an animated British TV show called Peppa Pig. We ate cookies and made homemade ice cream. Did I mention Frozen? We played fire truck and train and a million games of hide-n-seek. We even celebrated a first 5th birthday.
We became a family.
Yes, there were moments of doubt. Is this going to work? What if this doesn’t work? Does he like us? What if he doesn’t like us? Can we do this a second time around? No really, can we do this a second time around? There were raised voices and tears and disagreements…over chairs.
It’s never easy, even when it is.
But then there was laughter. And reluctant hugs turned willing. Suddenly hands weren’t asked for, they were given. I love you was whispered like a secret gift.
And so it went, the twelve days of our Christmas. I suppose it lacked the pageantry and price tag of the true Twelve Days of Christmas, but I wouldn’t change a minute of it. Not one exhausting minute. And that is the real epiphany. For me, anyway.