I told my husband yesterday that I feel sorry for older folks who celebrate Christmas morning alone. There is just so much joy, love and excitement in our family that day. Luckily, by the time our kids are raised, we should have plenty of grandkids to celebrate with.
One thing that happens with each new baby in a family is that the relationships grow exponentially. With one child in a family, there's three relationships, the one between the parents and the one between each parent and the child. Add another child, and you have six, adding the one between each parent and the new child plus the one between the two children. With three children, you have ten relationships. With seven children, you have thirty-six relationships going on! (Trust me on this; I had to graph it out to count it. When our baby is born, there will be forty-five!)
And Christmas morning, at least at our house, is all about relationships. The joy of giving and receiving is made more exquisite by watching each of these relationships and realizing how strong and loving they are. Each of our children is so blessed to have a huge number of people thinking of them, knowing them for who they are, and rooting for them. Lillian and Joey had both purchased presents for each member of our family, not just the one Secret Buddy they were assigned. Watching their faces as their sibling opened one of their carefully-chosen treasures was priceless. Michael had cut and pasted large sheets of paper into cut-out guys he'd colored, one for each of us. At any given moment during our present-opening, the receiver was thrilled and the giver even happier. Eliza loved the stick horse Allison had found for her, after searching the entire toy store for just the right gift. Michael loved the joke book Sarah gave him, saying, "Thanks! I'm not very good at jokes and now I will be." DH loved the photobook Lillian made for him of their trip to Chicago in April, and Lillian loved that Joey got her the new Mysterious Benedict Society book. And I sat back and tried not to be too sappy, so happy to be part of it all, to be the mother in this special family. There are days when I simply look at my kids and think, "I am so blessed," and then there are days when I just want to cry with joy.
Of course, with all those relationships going on, there's plenty of noise and excitement. Here's just a taste, of the kids right after seeing all their Santa gifts, before our yummy breakfast and the opening of all the other gifts (notice all the noise! Whoville has nothing on us):
I love my life.