Today finalizes the annual celebration lovingly referred to in our household as “Christmas in June.”
I dubbed it with this title last year as I came to realize juggling the birthdays of two young children born within 24 hours of one another, three years apart, holds its own crazy chaos.
I’ve shared the story of the miracles which are my children before. To refresh for those new to this column space - there is no annual wonder cruise that happened to spur a mood which resulted in two children born at the same time of year.
Quite the contrary.
Their father and I tried to conceive for years and … nothing. Our two are what I lovingly refer to as ‘science babies.’ Oh, sure prayer played a big part ... a huge part in all honesty. It was not, however, until we happened upon the efforts of Dr. Mark Cook and Dr. Larry Podolsky that the six-year mystery was solved. This is where science factored in.
Six years of ‘trying’ before being blessed with our son and three more before our foursome was completed by our daughter. When pregnant with my son I would jokingly tell friends he (our son) was our fine red wine, six years in the making.
Admittedly, I’ve grown used to the smile and nod I muster in response to the shock on others faces when asked how old my children are. When asked their birth dates, eyebrows naturally raise.
A boy and a girl with a three-year separation leave nothing in the way of convenience when it comes to birthday parties. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration and lends itself perfectly to my Christmas in June reality.
In all honesty it is a bit of one stop shopping in the way of cards, decorations, gift wrap and even gifts. The conversation usually begins in May as to what they want, how they want to celebrate and whom they want to invite.
Did you catch it? ‘They’… one conversation with both children. That is the beauty of the 24-hour separation. It’s complete craziness for the span of about three to four weeks and then ... I sigh and it’s behind me.
I spoke with some friends about it last week as birthday one came to a close and I took a few deep breaths before ramping up for the next one (the following morning). As I spoke of it I compared it to Finals Week when I was in college. That time when all things go a bit blurry and nothing really makes sense. Yet somehow, some way you pushed through it and came out on the other end grateful that you’d survived. That would be a fair and accurate summary of Christmas in June.
Ironically last week as I put the finishing touches on my daughter’s gift wrapped door, decorated dining table and polished the crystal this time took new meaning.
The truth is there was once a time (which felt like eternity) where I feared I would not have a little life to celebrate. There is nothing more heartbreaking than to want something so badly, only to come up empty. Six years is a long time. Yes, there are other options we could and were considering. This however does not ease the pain or disappointment of not being able to do what so many others can by simply blinking.
So on that night ... the eve before the 48 hours where all things equal party streamers, ‘bubbly’ drink (aka cider) and party plates I realized it is indeed Christmas in June.
Those two little people are the greatest gift I could have ever received in my lifetime. They not only give me purpose, but they teach me. They mold me. They make me better in every way possible.
Sure they also try me, frustrate me and give me cause (often) to count to 10 ... but that’s the beauty. Those are the moments we learn the most about ourselves and them.
Tomorrow it will all be behind us. They will continue to talk about it for a few days. The gifts they received will more than likely be forgotten in a matter of months and then ... Christmas.
But now ... today ... as the dust settles, as my check book is restored to balance and as my baggy eyes return to rest I’m just grateful. Grateful for the chaos, grateful for the wishes, the parties, the friends ... all of it.
After all, before I know it they’ll be bigger. They’ll be happy with dinner out with the family and a card with money in it. So, for the next handful of years Christmas in June will be a time where I choose not to grimace over the work load and craziness. Christmas in June will be the time that I revel in all things little people, sleep a little less and laugh and smile just a wee bit more.
Ho Ho Ho.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.