Mommy’s First Christmas

When I realized I was pregnant last year, one of the first things I looked forward to was Christmas with the baby who would be Jacob.  We’d have a three-month-old who would be able to participate in the celebration in one way or another. Plus we’d have four generations sharing the holiday together, which is something you just can’t buy.

 

In a lot of ways, Christmas was more joyful than I could have anticipated.  The last week or so of Advent was graced with fruitful prayer (thanks to the Magnificat Advent Companion!) that helped me feel prepared to truly celebrate Christ’s birth.  And the prospect of a full week with John was more than welcome after he’d been working some later nights earlier in the month.

 

On the other hand, my first Christmas as a parent was also more challenging than I’d expected. Because John’s and my families live so close together, we get to see everyone on each holiday.  I’m grateful that we have so much family nearby to spend the holidays with, and that they are all just enamored of Jacob.  Yet as exciting that is for them and for us, for a three-month-old baby, all that attention can be overwhelming.

 

Christmas wasn’t the first time Jacob was in a situation in which he was surrounded by family.  But because he’s becoming more alert and more aware of what’s going on around him, it was different than celebrations in the past.  At first, I thought only I was overloaded by the attention the little man captured.  I was trying to make sure everyone got to hold him, and that he was happy while he was being held.

 

After a while, I realized that I was getting him to calm down, then passing him off to someone, hanging out until he fussed, and then taking him back to calm him down again.  Sometimes he needed food, sometimes it was a diaper, but sometimes, we started to see, he just needed to chill out.  He wouldn’t be able to focus on just one face, and it was tough to get him to smile—which is the new greatest thing in the world.  When we’d take him into another room to feed or change him, he’d giggle and coo the instant we put him down.  He was happy as a clam when with only a few other people.  I can’t say I can’t relate at times, and I wonder if this is just a stage or if he has some of the shyness I did as a child.

 

Being a parent is a multi-faceted job, and I felt like I was playing a public relations role. It’s a tricky balance to make sure that he has time with all the wonderful people in his life and stays content.  At the end of the day, I think we did an okay job.

 

Now the only problem is after barely holding Jacob for a week, a week in which he has grown even more, it was a struggle to pick the big guy up this morning.  I tip when I try to lift him while still in bed!  I guess I ought to stop typing and start some push-ups if I’m going to make it through tomorrow. . . .

 

Merry Christmas!

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