It may sound silly, ungrateful, or just plain superficial but my heart sank when I learned that my expected due date was December 20. What if my baby is born on Christmas? Would anyone come to his birthday parties? I thought that my unborn child would get lost in the Christmas madness. He wouldn’t feel loved because his birthday would be subsumed by green and red, covered in tinsel, or drowned in eggnog. ‘What have we done?’ I thought.
My son turns 3 this December. I have learned a lot in these past 3 years. Among other things, I’ve learned that self-esteem isn’t based on your birthday, but on the unconditional love shared all year. And I’ve learned that parenting is full of stories. I’m constantly telling stories to my kids: how I fell in love with their dad at a baseball game, why frogs hibernate in the winter, why every single person is unique, and how a car engine works to name a few. I totally made up the story about the car engine because I really have no clue about how one works. I used some words like ‘piston’ and ‘explosion’ and my sons were satisfied.
So I have decided to create a new story about December.
In our December the gingko trees explode into a shock of yellow brightness. We make more trips to the thrift store for art supplies and spend more time around the kitchen table together. The sour grass – technically Oxalis, my least favorite weed – starts flowering. My 5-year-old son has taught my 3-year-old how to pick the juiciest bursts of sourness. Our persimmon tree loses its burnt orange leaves and produces a warm and graceful blanket on the ground. We devour satsuma mandarins and challenge ourselves to peel the peel in one piece. The light is a beautiful ‘golden hour’ glow practically all day.
I am going for walks with my sons and talking about the December I see. And I’m giving them all the love I can muster, because I know that’s what really matters.