|My oldest son during his second Christmas.|
I’ve always loved Christmas: the tree, the decorations, baking, presents, driving around town to look at Christmas lights, and the Christmas carols and hymns at church. O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
Even when my husband and I were young, poor, and living in tiny apartments, we’d get a real tree, decorate it with a mix of hand-me-downs and cheap ornaments, and I’d make batches and batches of cookies for friends and neighbors.
I knew that when I had children, celebrating Christmas with them would be especially joyous. So in the fall of 2006, during my first pregnancy, I looked forward to the Christmas season with double anticipation. I couldn’t wait to travel home to see my family and celebrate both Christmas and the upcoming child with them. I imagined future Christmases with my child, and how he or she would be with us for all the celebrations.
But on October 21st, twelve weeks into my pregnancy, I went to bed with mild cramps. In the night, the cramps turned into blinding pain, and by morning, when we rushed to the ER, my worst fears were realized: I had lost the baby. I spent about a month in a fog of mourning. Thanksgiving came and went, and I hardly noticed it. I dreaded Christmas that year. I thought that the celebrations, the images of the Christ child in church, and mostly the constant pressure to enjoy “Christmas cheer” would just remind me of what I’d lost. But we bought our tree, decorated our house, and made our travel plans just like every other year.
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.