Excerpt From Ethan's Journal (age 3)
Bill came for a whole ten days around Christmas time. It was wonderful to spend that much time together. We did all our Christmas shopping together (all in one day). He was so good at picking out presents for you--for everyone, really. He has a knack for understanding what each person would like.
t one I'd had since I was a small child. You were very proud that Bill allowed you to help choose it. We also bought a lot of lights and ornaments and a cheap tree stand.
Bill wrestled the tree into the small trunk of my Mercury Tracer. Back at home, he was frustrated to find that the tree's trunk was just a bit too wide for the stand. We had nothing to cut it with, so he used a steak knife! He laboriously trimmed off several layers of bark and wood, and he made that tree fit.
After he strung the lights, we let you hang some ornaments and candy canes. You wrapped yourself in a string of tinsel, and I took your picture.
After all that work, you and Bill were exhausted, and you snuggled up on the couch for a nice nap.
It was a wonderful Christmas, though we had to celebrate a little early so that Bill could see you open your presents....
We told Ethan Santa was coming a little early that year, and we went ahead and put out milk and cookies for him. Ethan was amazed and elated the next morning when he found cookie crumbs on the plate. I was just as amazed; my family had never observed this tradition, and I'd had no idea how much fun that could be.
Bill gave Ethan a Vancouver Canucks jersey, and he just loved it. It was far too big, but that just meant he could wear it for a couple of years.
The fact that our time together was so limited made that first Christmas incredibly special. With each passing year, we've carried on the same traditions and added a few new ones:
- Bill hanging lights on the house, with a little "help" from Ethan and a lot of hand wringing on my part
- Listening to Christmas music and drinking eggnog while we decorate the tree
- Arranging our Christmas village and our two nativity sets
- Using the camera's timer to take our own picture for the Christmas card, which tends to be a hilarious and somewhat stressful exercise
- Baking and decorating sugar cookies with my family
- Reading The Night Before Christmas for Bill's family in our twangiest Texas drawl
- Singing Christmas carols with Bill's family and friends
- Watching A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation and sometimes The Muppet Christmas Carol
- Stuffing ourselves each day for a week on Bill's mom's Christmas treats
- Staying up late playing cards with Bill's family
- Attending the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church