Wahoo! Such a fun Christmas–I might venture to say the best one yet.
It was a humble one, our efforts elsewhere, but I think we all agree it only made it better.
“Well Hello Finley…What would you like for Christmas?”
“I would like a Christmas present…”
“Ok, well, what do you want for your present?”
“A monster truck with squishy wheels.”
“Finley, you are crazy to sit with Santa, he’s terrible!!” -Elijah
“And what do you girls want for Christmas?” to which he was answered with blank stares and nervous grins.
But of course afterwards, “We Met SANTA!!!!!!!” they exclaimed.
After dinner on Christmas Eve, we pulled up The Nativity Story on the iPad, the condensed version, for which they had 1001 questions, but loved it.
“Oooooh, look at baby Jesus! He’s so cute!!!!”
We opened three presents Christmas eve. It was a brand new expereince for J, and still very new to Maria and Elijah, only once before had they experienced Christmas in a family. It’s pretty magical to share Christmas with children who live in such joy and wonder, it’s so contagious–a gift.
After the dentist last week, J and I stopped at a store and she was enraptured with these pink light up shoes…”WOW!” she would exclaim and bat at them each chance she got to see the lights dance as she squealed in response. In Ph they don’t wear shoes, only flip flops, but when I checked the price, $35, I told her to put them back, “Sorry babe.” I called Andrew, “We can’t, right?”
And said, “This is a once in a life time for her, and she could really use them…”
And so, when she wasn’t looking…
The boys each got a truck, and didn’t feel like opening the rest.
J also got a baby toy that sings a lullaby. There is something so special about giving an orphan a baby toy, because they cherish it more than you would imagine. She sleeps with it at night.
She danced around the house in them, as everyone watched them light up, she had never seen anything like it, and only paused for one picture.
When Finley opened his tool belt, well, things got pretty serious.
But the earth stopped moving when the girls opened their Rainbow Looms. After we put the boys down, I told them I would help them, “No problem!” I told them. Then when I looked at the directions, I was like, “Aaahhhh crap…” thinking this would end in a frustrating mess….
Turns out, they rocked at it. And love, love love them. So do I, total hit. Looming like crazy up in here.
The next day, we headed to Grandma and Grandpa’s for breakfast and stockings, etc. J soaked it all in.
They tested out Papa’s new board, it was a keeper. #CaliforniaChristmas
That afternoon while the boys napped, Maria and I made a cake for Jesus’ birthday. Scratch that, Maria made it. I mentioned before that Maria’s confidence has really sky-rocketed since J has been here, and what would have been overwhelming before is now doable, fun–a great accomplishment. And truthfully, it was the best cake we have ever had.
The girls helped decorate together, “PINK! For Jesus!”
“Sounds good to me!” I told them as they set busy along.
Finley decorated a cupcake, “For baby Jesus.”
“Jesus wants to share with me,” he said as he took a bite. “I make it for him, and he wants to share with me!” he exclaimed.
Hungry toddler, or deep theological thinker, maybe both.
For dinner, we made more white rice than you could imagine and fresh Lumpia, to the delight of everyone. With special sweet chili sauce. Filipino Christmas delight.
Then we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, and thanked him for his perfect gift that has meant freedom, life and joy to us–our main guy and hero.
We tucked the boys in, and had the girls get ready for bed, for which J was not ready. Something had been stirred up in her that day, and we were reminded that sometimes holidays bring back hard memories for orphans, and remind them of the searing loss they have in their lives.
Hurt is sometimes so deep, it is hard to express. It takes God within us in that moment, to transcend our expectations and feelings, to push aside our natural response to see the hurt, and respond accordingly. And when I wanted to close a bedroom door instead, I pulled a sad, pouting mad child into my arms, despite a weak protest, and she cuddled down deep and cried. And cried, and we rocked and rocked, and the pounding of my heart calmed as I stroked her cheek.
“We love you,” Andrew told her, while furrowed brows and a broken spirit melted into a weak smile, enveloped in arms that care.
In my eyes the best type of Christmas ever!