We crawled into bed on Christmas Eve after filling her stocking, the four of us cuddled in one room of my in-laws' house in PA (my husband, myself, our 2 year old in her sleeping back on the floor, and our 50lb dog on the end of our bed), and whispered about our morning plan and how we were way more excited than she was.
Christmas with a toddler is full of such magic -- creating new traditions, baking, playing games, telling stories, navigating travel and family and a little chaos -- it's a whirlwind in the best way.
Several times over this holiday, but especially on Christmas morning after exchanging presents with all of the cousins and brothers and sisters, I felt like I could literally feel my heart swell with thankfulness.
I thought, what an amazing blessing to have inherited so much more family.
Family who loves our little girl and thought of her with these gifts. Family who cares for us, and welcomes us, this warm fire and the festivity and the abundance of food. The ability to gift them and others in our lives generously.
Color and kids-table-laughter and late night board games and homemade cinnamon buns and blessings upon so many blessings.
I truly found such joy in the holidays this year--in cooking, in shopping, in wrapping and gifting, in singing, in sharing, even in packing and driving. I've admittedly been through my seasons of grinch-ing when it comes to these things, selfishly feeling possessive of my time, money, and resources.
But it is so much more freeing to live in a state of gratitude and openness.
When I see my little girl light up in the dawn glow of a Christmas tree or look around a table at 4 generations sharing a meal, I remember the blessings and my heart is full. It's an awareness that I'll keep holding onto long after the season is over.