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'Tis the season

It’s Christmas week, you guys! And despite the freakishly warm temperatures, there’s still something magical to me about Christmas and the holiday season in general. Growing up, my mom would put on one of two cassette tapes around this time: The Jackson 5 Christmas Album or The Carpenters’ Christmas Portrait. My sister and I spent...

12362802_10153084140661899_8087798592790381559_oIt’s Christmas week, you guys! And despite the freakishly warm temperatures, there’s still something magical to me about Christmas and the holiday season in general. Growing up, my mom would put on one of two cassette tapes around this time: The Jackson 5 Christmas Album or The Carpenters’ Christmas Portrait. My sister and I spent the early part of our childhood in the Marshall Islands, and even though we were on an island in the Pacific, Christmas was still that time of year when we decorated a tree, wrote letters to Santa and opened presents in our pajamas. It was my absolute, hands-down favorite time of year.
But somewhere along the way, I got older, and the luster of Christmas started to fade. It suddenly became stressful or too commercial or just plain hard to get everything done. And I started to feel sad about what was happening. That is, until I had kids. Suddenly, I wanted to deck the halls. I wanted to cook an overly ambitious Christmas dinner. I wanted to bake chocolate-chip cookies from scratch for Santa with my daughter. Planning out the week and wrapping presents in secret, watching Christmas movies or telling stories, and of course, putting on either The Jackson 5 or The Carpenters started to become fun and exciting again.
12362759_10153093254621899_8469086151450627728_oThis past week, Anaïs had her holiday performance at school. She starts Pre-K next year, and she is so ready. As two of the other mothers and I were setting up the auditorium where the performance would be held, the kids all came in to rehearse. Seeing Anaïs on stage singing Christmas classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Feliz Navidad” had me choked up. She suddenly looked so big and fearless, like she was ready for everything that she would face in life. It was incredible and heartbreaking at the same time. Jesse made it just in time for the show, and we watched our little girl on that big stage with so much pride. It was a great way to kick off her holiday break from school.
Akira has been growing leaps and bounds over the last few weeks, and this weekend was no exception. He had been showing a growing interest in our food for a few weeks, and we finally let him try some bananas and sweet potatoes! He loves both, and honestly, I didn’t really have a doubt in my mind that this boy would love food. Jesse even joked that he can 739845_10153513618612326_5046140543344266553_oactually see Akira growing before our very eyes. Before we know it, he’ll be the one on stage at his school’s holiday performance. The thought alone makes my heart ache. He’s still this tiny helpless little boy. But it’ll all go by so fast, just as time has just flown with Anaïs.
A friend of mine and I were talking about our kids and he said it best: “I always thought people were exaggerating about time flying.” It seems like such a cliché to talk about how quickly it goes by. But that’s just the reality of it all: No matter how much we try, our children will always grow up.
So, this Christmas feels even more special than the last. We have a daughter who has left babyhood, graduated from toddlerhood and is now a full-fledged little girl. And we now have a son who is still a tiny baby but is rapidly evolving. The magic that they have within them sparks so much joy in us as parents and makes me want to continue the traditions I had growing up. If there’s one thing the holidays does best, it’s that it reminds all of us of the simple joy of togetherness and family. I couldn’t feel more grateful for the ones I’m surrounded with. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

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