I’m writing this from the glow of a Christmas tree I wasted no time putting up in our cozy little home. There is so much I love about Christmas, but waking up, living, and working around the glow of Christmas lights is at the top of my list. Such a simple pleasure.
My feelings for Christmas have proven to be organic as I’ve gone from a young participant of festivities on my parents’ couch to being a young mother - the official instigator of memories and traditions. Before I had children I dreamed of all the wonderful things I would do with them to make this time magical and bright.
So much changes between the moments before motherhood and the moments that follow.
Now that I have children I feel constantly bombarded by the need and desire to make everything perfect in that time between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Everything must be an experience! We must try everything! This mentality eventually leads our family to exhaustion and fussiness - by all parties involved.
But that’s not really what I want to write about. I want to write about how my feelings for Christmas have shifted since becoming a mother - how my heart has flexed into something I wouldn’t have recognized 8 years ago.
I became a mother for the first time in November of 2008. Our oldest son lived his first 10 months in the care of a foster family in South Korea, and all I had was a picture of him to love and dream over. He was loved and nurtured daily by a foster mother that committed to care for him - asking nothing in return. My son has had a number of mamas. I am his third, and his final.
Since bringing that sweet boy home over five years ago, I look at the Christmas story with new eyes - Mama eyes.
Mary - no older than a young girl - delivering a baby boy alone in a cold and lonely stable. No doctors, no mother to let her know she could do this. A young girl carrying and delivering a child she must love and raise, but knowing that he was not hers to keep. Offering unconditional love and knowing that this child is more than just her tiny baby boy. A complicated love between a mother and son, made more complicated by the knowledge that she was just a vehicle in raising this boy that was not her's forever.
When I think of Mary, I think of my son’s Birth Mother and Foster Mother. I think of a woman that loved a child so fiercely that she made the ultimate sacrifice. I imagine how alone she must have felt to have no control over what was happening to her. Every kick she felt inside of her was a reminder of her great responsibility, and the great sadness that would inevitably follow. I think of another woman who selflessly agreed to love a child that she knew she would have to give away - a son she would not see into adulthood. I think of how I saw her that day I took him away, and how she fell to the ground in such intense sadness. I think of selfless and thankless agape.
At Christmas I think of light. And love. And sadness. And selflessness. And loss.
So Christmas for this mama isn’t just about Christmas Carols and lights. It has it’s fair share of Christmas cookies and holiday movies, but it’s also about taking a moment to love fiercely and to turn off the white noise that can so easily surround my family. It’s about remembering a mother’s sacrifice.
Of course it is a time full of happiness and warm fuzzies, but for me, also a time deep with melancholy.
I take this as a sign that my heart is so very full.
Thanks so much, Tiffany, for sharing your heart with the BUSHBABY family. Our hearts grew, as we heard the story of your journey to motherhood, through the adoption of your oldest son.
Check out Tiffany's blog here, where she has been counting what she is grateful for. Beautiful, Tiffany!
May your holidays be bright with memories + love.