December is perhaps my favorite month of the year. Despite the freezing cold weather and treacherous driving conditions I find it to be a magical time of year. The month of December rings in with my daughter's birthday, this year she turned three. Then later that week is my husband's birthday as well and St. Nicholas day. Then the next three weeks are filled with anticipation for the big day, Christmas. I love the birthday celebrations, the shopping (online mostly), the beautiful snowy weather, decorating the house, drinking hot chocolate, watching Christmas movies, marking the advent calendar, and enjoying time with my family.
The first Christmas following the birth of my first born was perhaps the most magical. I was a new Mother in a constant state of awe and bliss. With the help of my husband I had created and given birth to another person, a beautiful little baby girl. I couldn't have been happier. On Christmas Eve we dressed our daughter up in an adorable red velvet and white fur trim dress and took pictures of her under our Christmas tree. I couldn't have imagined a better Christmas present than a new baby.
My daughter's second Christmas was a mixed bag of emotions. I was so happy to be celebrating another holiday season with my husband and now one year old daughter. But the pain was still fresh from my 10 week miscarriage over Thanksgiving weekend. I was still mourning the loss of that tiny baby, wishing I was still carrying a life inside me. We pushed forward and celebrated as usual, with the pain of our loss always present.
The following December was even more difficult. We were four months out from the loss of Penelope and James. December was their due date and we couldn't help but wonder what this time of year would be like if they were still with us. We tried to find ways to include them in our Christmas celebrations. We put their names on our Christmas cards, hung stocking from the fireplace for them, made a special Christmas ornament for each of them and lit candles in their honor at our Christmas dinner. It didn't really matter how many things we did to remember them, the pain of missing them was in our faces all the time.
Now it is approaching our daughter's fourth Christmas season. She is full of excitement and anticipation at the arrival of Santa and presents. We have begun to decorate our house, the stockings are hung, the Christmas cards are sent, the lights are up, and our Christmas tree is in the works. This year my heart is lighter. The heavy ache that I felt last year has lightened, though it is still there. We will continue to honor our babies by hanging their stockings, placing their ornaments on the tree, honoring them in our Christmas cards, and lighting candles for them. These are traditions that we will continue for as long as we feel the need to.
Even though over a year has passed since our loss, this time of year opens the wound a little bit. It is a special time a year, a time for family and celebration. I think anyone that has lost someone they love misses them a little more at these special times. We are reminded of what this time should be like if they were still here. As I continue to prepare for the big day it hurts as I buy gifts for only one child and donate money to The March of Dimes instead of buying toys to fill my twin's stockings. It hurts as I take only one child to go visit Santa at the mall. It hurts to know that my son and daughter will never know the joy of celebrating Christmas with their family. I miss them everyday, but this time of year I am missing all that could have been.