Merry Christmas sweet baby! This picture was one of the ways we announced that we were expecting you last Christmas to friends and family. It was such a joyful time in anticipation of what Christmas would look like with you this year.
A whole seven months have gone by without you. As Christmas came and went, I couldn't help but imagine what we should have with you. In my mind I could see you - a seven month version of you and in another daydream the five month version of you if you had come when you should have. You were there in each daydream, maybe sitting in a Bumbo or on a play pad, loving the boxes, tissue and wrapping paper. Your little eyes content with only that as we tried to shift your attention to the gifts "Santa" brought you. We've decorated this house for Christmas but never stayed up late to do Santa. We would laugh at ourselves for making this kind of fuss for you at such a young age but it was supposed to be your first Christmas so of course we would! After all the fuss we'd sit there and think, "maybe next year he'll be really into it."
In our actual reality, your Daddy and I did Christmas differently this year. We needed to distract ourselves from what wasn't there. We took a trip to get away and find peace in Montreal and Quebec. It was so beautiful, we were immersed in our own Winter Wonderland especially in Quebec City. Just like when we went to Vancouver and Victoria last summer, pieces of you were evident all around us. It was another "family trip" in a different kind of way.
On Christmas Eve we went to the most beautiful church service, a midnight mass at the Notre Dame Basilica. We were early enough to walk around and see the different saints and found a candle we could light for you. Tearfully, we stood there and prayed for you. A smile appeared on my face as I thought about how Jesus is the Reason for the Season and you were there in Heaven, with the reason for the season.
In the church Mommy grew up in, the church you are laid to rest, I sang in the choir. Every Christmas Eve service at the very end, the choir would line the walls with candles and sing Silent Night to the congregation. It was my favorite and what I looked forward to every year. Your great-grandfather also taught me that song in German when I was little. Hearing it in French consumed me with emotion as I listened to the beautiful choir from above us sing Douce Nuit! Sainte nuit!, while hearing in my mind my grandfather bellowing Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht! from my childhood, and remembering the look of the sanctuary at home as I sang Silent Night! Holy Night! by candlelight. As this all spun around in my mind, I saw you.
Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin mother and child,
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.
Tears just kept falling and all I could think about was you in my arms. The anticipation of you for eight and a half months, then finding out you would never experience this life with us. The wait in the hospital before you came, the feeling of seeing you the first time, of holding you and discovering every little thing we could about you. Then finally the hardest of all, saying goodbye to you. In these moments, I played the experience back in my mind and I missed you so much, I wanted you with us so bad. I didn't want to be 1700 miles away from home, I wanted to be at home spending our first Christmas with you.
I wished you were in my arms, asleep as we sit by the tree as a little family of three with George laying on mine or Daddy's legs. I would hum Christmas carols to you and thank our Father for this blessing of you. But I don't have you and oh how I miss you. Today we are home so I rock in your rocker instead. I hold my special Hudson lamb as tears fall down my face. I think of what used to be my all-time favorite Christmas song and now it is my Christmas lullaby to you instead, my angel baby.
Sleep in heavenly peace.
All my love, forever and for always.