Growing Pains

Darkness and quietness surrounds me, my coffee piping hot, warming my throat as I take a sip then settling in my belly, mixing with peanut butter toast. Alan, Danny, Jack, and Fiona are still asleep, 6:00AM day after Christmas. 

Our Christmas Day turned out to be delightfully simple and surprisingly joyful. But it didn’t come easy. I feel like I just finished an exam. It seems like it’s been weeks of studying my beliefs, my mind, my values, what I want to teach my kids. Weeks of debates and tension with my husband about christmas trees and Santa. Conversations that flounder between my practicality and his romantic sensibility.  

“I want the kids to have a great Christmas, they’ll love The whole idea of Santa”

“But I don’t feel comfortable lying to them. They have a great life, everyday is Christmas for them.”

So we tried the tree. Alan brought home a big beautiful tree that we decorated as a family, it was gorgeous with lights and all. 

  It lasted one day in the house. But the joy of putting up the tree and going through the ritual was worth the tension and stress it created. It was worth the vacuuming over and over to get up the pine needles. I was right about the impracticality of a  Christmas tree in the house with toddler twins, but Alan was right about the beauty of the ritual and the wow factor of plugging in the lights on the Christmas tree. 

On Christmas morning I did tell the babies Santa came, I said “Merry Christmas” and Jack said it back to me in his little baby voice,

“Erry ismiss” 

Through the baby monitor I told Alan, “put out the rest of the presents” 

It was a small group of gifts placed in the center of the living room floor. There were also two new bikes for Jack and Fiona. They ran to those first and jumped right on. 

They opened up their little pile of gifts and loved them all. I sat and watched, and was happy. 

When Alan, Danny, and I Were ready to do our gift exchange the babies thought they were getting more presents. I said, “these presents are for Danny, Mommy, and Daddy” Jack was a little upset at first, but we had the babies help pass out the gifts and I think they really liked it. Fiona opened one of Alans sweaters I got him, and then walked it over to him. Then she snuggled up in his lap. 

In the afternoon we headed over to Alan’s sisters house for a Chrismas dinner party. The babies were really excited to be going to a party. Alan has six brothers and three sisters. A big Irish family. Only one brother and one sister still live in Ireland, everyone else was at the party. I had fun telling the babies, “this is daddies brother, this is daddies brother, this is daddies brother, this is daddies brother, and this is daddies brother” and then I explained how grandma was their   mommy.  The babies were friendly and well behaved. The only glitch was they didn’t eat much, only rolls and bananas. They had spotted the table of sweets when we got there. I told them, “not till after dinner” We think they purposely didn’t eat much dinner so they would have room in their   tummies to  gorge on candies and cookies. 

As I put the babies to bed last night a lightness came over me.  I made it through a deep introspective time, I came out the other side with a new positivity and confidence about myself. As I go through these “episodes” I often say to myself , “I wish I wasn’t like this, I wish I didn’t question everything and get so stressed out” But if I didn’t go through it would I have the clarity I have today? These are examines I’m taking, I need to study and go deep inside to figure things out, to figure life out. It’s not an easy way of living, it’s not easy for me or the  people  close      To me, that I’m not a “normal” person. But this is who I am. 

Alan and I took a walk outside during the party. It was surreal to be walking down the road on Christmas outside a family Christmas party with two children that are my own. After years of parties where I felt so uncomfortable and like an outsider because of my troubles getting pregnant, now I had a family of my own. As we walked down the sidewalk Jack looked at Fiona and said “ona” he grabbed her hand and they continued to walk together in front of Alan and I.

“Oh my gosh, that’s the best christmas present ever” I said. 

And I felt truly jolly, like I learned a lot about life at that moment.  


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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist