1) The sacrificial love of my husband as he took us, yet again, to the country Christmas tree farm. I know he loves me, in part, because he pays twice the money and drives five times as far to give me that pine-scented, festive, eye-candy experience that I crave every year. He would rather go to Lowe’s. (Thanks, babe!)
2) The girls’ Christmas piano recital. I was smiling almost the entire time because they were so cute all dressed up in their red-and-green Sunday best. I think I stopped smiling for a very few tense moments when I wondered if they would end their duet at the same time. I figured they had a 50/50 chance. But they did it! Yay for them! I also was cracking up because Clara, age 7, kept pointing to a misprint in the program that said, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sin.” She would nudge me, point to it, and start snickering, “The Angels SIN, mom!” That girl. She’s a piece of work.
3) Mistletoe. Clara has also been keenly aware of the newly placed mistletoe and has taken full advantage of it. It’s not uncommon for her to get me to walk near it and then for her to shove me a few inches and then point to it, with her check extended toward me. Let’s just say that I’m glad she still wants me to kiss her!
4) Sitting in the back of a beautiful church with Carson, a newly-minted, squirmy, lovable two-year-old, while listening to a brass concert. It was light-hearted, full of excellent music, and very festive. Even Santa came out to play the French Horn. I didn’t mind sitting in the back of the church. Carson is so cute and adorable these days. During the sing-along carols, he grabbed a hymnal and sang loudly, off-key, with unintelligible syllables, but with all his heart. He garnered more than a few smiles from the people sitting nearby.
I am convinced that it is music that makes the Christmas season what it is. Without Christmas music flooding our homes, cars, and concert halls, what would Christmas be? Not half as extraordinary.
5) If there is a rival to Christmas music, it is Christmas stories. Maybe it’s just the ages the kids are this year, but I have never enjoyed reading Christmas stories to them as much as this year. Also, Christmas movies. They have loved watching many classic Christmas movies this year. There has been so much laughter.
Those are the highs. The low came yesterday when I lost Sophia at the children’s museum for about 15 minutes. For 12 of those minutes I didn’t even realize she was missing. We had invited a friend to come, so it was me and five kids. I was smiling and taking lots of pictures and then we decided to move on to another exhibit. As we walked up a long ramp, I did what I usually do when I’m out with my kids. I counted them. One, two, three, four. Hmmm. That doesn’t seem like enough kids. One, two, three, four. Well, it looks like a lot of kids—there’s a whole group of them running ahead of me—but I think that’s still not enough. Who are we missing? Sophia? Sophia!!! Where is she?!!
We turned around to go find her. We rushed to examine all the corners of the dinosaur exhibit, to no avail. I then realized that I hadn’t actually seen Sophia in the dinosaur exhibit, even though I thought she was with the older girls as we went down the ramp. Then I asked the older girls, “Was Sophia ever with you in the dinosaur exhibit?” The answer was, “No. We never saw her down here.” I panicked and we ran upstairs, back to the lobby.
There was desolate Sophia standing in the distance, face turned downward, next to a large, protective security guard. I ran up to her and embraced her. I cupped her teary face in my hands and apologized profusely. Poor Sophia. I was so terribly sorry and felt like the worst mother in the world at that moment. The security guard told me that she was so frantic that they couldn’t get any information out of her. I sat her in my lap for a while and finally said, “Sophia, what is your mommy’s name?” She said, “Amy.” I said, “What is your mommy’s full name?” She said, “Amy Koons!” I said, “Yes. If you are ever lost again, you need to stop crying and tell the adult nearby what my name is.” She then burst into laughter. I guess she thought that was funny. I also told her that, “I will never leave you. I will ALWAYS come find you. If you are lost ever again, I will always come back.” What I didn’t say was, “I will come find you … eventually … if I happen to remember, in my own sweet time.” Sheesh. I’m a loser. I’m glad my kids are so forgiving!
Ahh … the highs and the lows. Life.