The ghost of a pre-baby Christmas past
A baby changes everything. Are you tired of hearing that?
I don’t often think about how much our life has changed since Baby G came into it. But around the holidays, it’s easy to reach back and think about where you were just one or two years ago.
One year ago, I was past due with the little creature we hadn’t named yet. We called her the Christmas Monster because she was due Dec. 24 and we knew it was because she wanted the holiday to be all about her. Turns out she was more of a Grinch than we could have imagined and chose to skip out on celebrating Christmas all together.
I can’t even believe I’m showing you this picture. ^^ I was miserable, 50 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, and really antsy to meet my little girl. Too afraid to leave the vicinity of the hospital, we celebrated Christmas in our little apartment on the farm, and then went to Chevy’s for dinner because it was the only restaurant open that wasn’t Denny’s.
Two years ago, Joe and I spent our first Christmas without either of our families. We were living in Boston at the time, and because Joe had to get back to work on Dec. 26, getting to the west coast was not an option. So we decided to take the bus to New York City instead.
We had a magical weekend just the two of us – peering into the Macy’s holiday displays, getting lost in a sea of people around the Rockefeller Center, spontaneously deciding to see Memphis on Broadway because last-minute tickets were $26. Running into Hugh Jackman in Times Square and touching his coat just to say I did (creepy). Having brunch at a cafe near Central Park and sitting on a bench feeding pigeons and feeling like characters from a John Cusack romantic comedy.
After the show, we ate butternut squash ravioli at a tiny restaurant with exposed brick walls and candles on the table. I ordered wine. Then we stumbled on a piano bar where we festively sang along to Elton John’s “Rocket Man” with a hundred other people – urban dwellers and couples on vacation and people with no family, people who probably celebrate Christmas at a piano bar every year.
Even then, something inside me said you will never have this again. So I savored the night, savored being 25 in the best city in the world with the best person at my side.
I’m glad we’re not having Christmas in a bar this year, or in New York City with a million strangers. We are going to be around family, with our little baby, and it is exactly how we want it. But I’m also so glad that we have those memories. Last night we reminisced just a tiny bit – I think that’s important to do once in a while – and thought about the freedom we enjoyed two years ago with little clue it was all coming to an end. Just three months after that night, we would move to a small town in California, and a couple weeks after that I would be pregnant.
Life can change a lot in two years when a baby arrives in your life. I think as parents we can look back at those pre-baby days with nostalgia and appreciate them for what they were. They were not meaningless or self-indulgent. They were just different. This year, we’re making “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments and deciding what set of blocks to put under the tree.
In the hustle of it all, I’m freezing these moments in my head, because in two years I know I’m going to want to remember them.