Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Recap and the Greatest Gift of 2012

Christmas was a tricky subject in our family of three this year.  We were well aware that Francis might have a hard time with the holiday, and wanted to do everything we could to make him happy, comfortable, and not too overwhelmed.  We asked him what he wanted to have for Christmas – anything special, anything that might remind him of old traditions, etc.  The only things he asked for were a Christmas tree and chicken adobo.  That was what he wanted, that was what he got.  Our traditional Italian Christmas dinner had the added twist of homemade chicken adobo this year, and he was a happy boy. 

Francis with his best girl, Lakota.

We had a nice, quiet Christmas Eve with just the three of us, Lolo, and Lola.  Lola cooked, Mommy baked, Daddy, Lolo, and Francis decorated cookies, and then we all went to evening Mass and had dinner together.  While we were waiting between courses, Daddy read The Pennsylvania Dutch Night Before Christmas, and Lolo read the regular Night Before Christmas.  Francis was not lacking in entertainment!  While we were in Church it had started snowing, and he was so excited.  Of course, Christmas snow is magic snow, and it made his first Christmas at home a white one.  What a beautiful Christmas gift!

Milk, cookies, and a special letter and drawings for Santa.

Early Christmas morning, Francis woke up to find that Mommy and Daddy had set up The Polar Express train around the tree (Francis LOVES trains and LOVES The Polar Express).  Right outside the pile of gifts, he found the present Santa left for him.  Right away he saw the wrapping paper and said, “Spider-Man?”  He had asked Santa for Spider-Man and Spider-Man only (no other hints!).  Santa brought him a remote-controlled Spider-Man motorcycle, and he was beyond thrilled.  After presents, we took him outside to try out his new sled on the hill behind our house.  In the afternoon we went to Lolo and Lola’s house, where he did more sledding and snowball fighting with Lolo and then dinner and presents with great-grandma, great-aunts and uncles, and his cousins.  It ended up being a really good day for him.

The Polar Express.  Just Awesome.

Overall, Francis is enjoying the snowy weather.  He thinks that every time it snows Santa is going to come.  We’ve got a little work to do there.  He amazes me with his crazy body thermostat, because he’s ALWAYS hot!  When he’s outside playing in the snow, he won’t leave his hat or hood up.  When he’s inside and it’s 65 degrees in the house, he says he’s too hot with socks on.  It’s amazing.

Post-sled run with Daddy and Lakota.

Francis doesn’t believe us yet that at midnight it will be a new year.  2012 has been a whirlwind for us, starting with seeing his beautiful face on January 3 to receiving his official referral on March 26, traveling to the Philippines on September 12, formally receiving him on his birthday September 17, coming home on September 26, and a bunch of firsts – first Halloween, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas.

In front of the tree at Lolo and Lola's house.

Parenting Francis has been one challenge after another, but also one joy after another.  There are some challenges we expected, many we never saw coming a mile away.  For every time I want to hit my head up against a wall, though, there are ten more times I have two little arms wrap around my neck and a little voice whisper in my ear, “Mommy…I love you.”  That – that gift, the greatest of 2012, the greatest gift ever, was what was worth waiting almost 10 years for.     
Mommy and Daddy took Francis to the North Pole on a train!

We are looking forward to the challenges and joys (hopefully more joys then challenges) of 2013 and wish health, happiness, and many blessings to all!