For the first time that I can remember, I woke up on Christmas morning more excited about others opening their gifts from me than I was to open theirs. I don’t know if this means that I’ve finally grown up, and have accepted the Christmas holiday for what it truly is, or if I just put more thought into picking out gifts than I have in years before. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I’ve been more organized the past couple of years and have started my shopping well in advance and, when I actually do my shopping, I take my time rather than rushing from store to store and buying the first thing that I see.
I did, however, receive some lovely things for Christmas, including a new lens for my Nikon DSLR that I purchased earlier this fall as well as a filter kit and some other accessories. I received a few t-shirts, with this one being my favorite although Tay really likes this one and I have to agree that it’s pretty cool. And what the hell, this one is worth taking a peek at too. I received the new Stephen King which I promptly started reading since I have a bunch of time off work and at almost 4lbs, it’s not a book that I can carry back and forth on the train very easily. I’m now on page 619 of 1072, having just started a few days ago. There was also the usual, sparkly and lovely smelling things from Sephora plus a gift card that I can’t wait to use and a cozy pair of slippers from Pink by Victoria Secret that recently opened at the mall.
My favorite gifts by far, however, were the two gifts that I received that were unexpected and yet stood out because of the thoughfulness of them and their relevance. The first, a delicate pendant from my friend Anna Lee, that says Dreams Come True and the second, a silver pendant on a chain from The Shared Heart Collection that I received from Tay’s dad.
When I opened Anna Lee’s gift on the morning of Christmas Eve when we went to visit, she commented that she thought it was appropriate considering everything that had happened this year. And the following morning, after opening the gift from Tayl’s dad, I had the chance to speak with him and he told me how he was out shopping for me and was drawn to this collection of jewellery. The idea behind it being two hearts beating as one and while I didn’t say it to him at the time, one of the first things that entered my mind was that this would be a piece of jewellery that I would cherish and that I would someday give to my daughter, or at least let her wear on special occasions, especially if there was ever a time when she was ever nervous or scared and that she would realize that she was not alone. I didn’t say it to him either, on the phone, that it was one of my favorite gifts that I received this year and I really should have.
And the more I think about it, the more I think about these delicate pieces of jewellery and the thought and meaning behind them, the more I understand that I am not the only person that recognizes the life inside of me as being the greatest gift that not just I have received this year, or that my husband has received but that so many other people around us have received as well. I look back at the year behind us now, at the challenges and the struggles that Tay and I went through, and went through alone for a lot of and how so very difficult it was that there were days when I thought that it would break me, into too many tiny pieces and that I couldn’t be put back together again.
I think about those difficult times and how I thought I might survive them, and then I think now how I would do them all over again because of what those days taught me about myself, and about my husband, about our relationship and how strong it truly is. It made me see the true depths of hope and committment and the desire to have a child, to start a family. It gave me perspective, and knowledge, and information and I know so much more about fertility treatments and all the tests and procedures and there is no embarassment on my part when I tell someone, whether a friend or family or colleague or a complete stranger that this baby is the result of a lot of hard work and a lot of time and a lot of money and so much frustration and despair. I tell them about the different options that are available, that it’s not impossible, that there are things that can be done depending on how far they are willing to go and when I tell them my story, and they see that I am pregnant, that swell of a baby bump from beneath my shirt – it is then that I see the hope that they have. That dreams do come true.
There’s this happiness inside of me, a bright shining ball of pure happiness that’s been there since the beginning of June and it keeps shining oh so brightly like a star on the darkest night. My husband has commented on how happy being pregnant with this baby has made me and it’s true – and as cliche or as corny as it may sound, I don’t know that I have ever in my life experienced a happiness quite like this. And it’s not even just my happiness, a self-imposed happiness that I’m finally having the baby that I’ve wanted for so long but it’s also the happiness that this caused, in so many other people – from my husband and the way that he looks at me and will touch my belly as he murmurs words to our daughter, or the tears that my sisters shed when they heard the news. It’s the things that my mother will say to me, like how she keeps thinking that this is all a wonderful dream that she will awaken from, or that the baby is all she can think about, or, how when I finally told her that she could tell people she knew the news she promptly told everyone and they started bringing her little baby clothes to pass on to her granddaughter. When we spoke on Christmas Day, my mother told me that the best present of all was the baby inside of me and what she said is true – because she, the little tiny baby that kicks away and has started to keep me awake at night – she is the best gift of all.
Which is why, when I woke Christmas morning, I was more excited for others to open my gifts to them than I was to open their gifts to me, because I had of course, already received the best gift of all. And those two pieces of jewellery, nestled in their boxes under the tree, they are the ribbon on this gift, and tell the world what she means to me. Two hearts beating as one, a shared heart, and, at least to us, a dream come true.