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Christmas Essay [Dec. 21st, 2006|10:23 pm]
I like to write a short piece around Christmas every year. Here's this year's installment. The last one posted in my LJ is here, if you want to read it.

Last Turn as a Quiet Couple

My wife and I were sitting together at dinner and I pointed out that this will be our last Christmas as a couple. She’s pregnant and, with the fervent hope that everything goes well, we’ll have a son or daughter with us next year. There’ll no longer be just two. This will be our last holiday season to sit quietly at home, a couple on the couch, admiring strings of lights we mostly hung in the front windows.

What will that Christmas be like? I honestly have no idea. I have only the vaguest of guesses as to what our family life might be like at that point. Our child will be about six months old during the next holidays. But what will they be like? Where will we be living? What state will our house be in? What state will our sanity be in? In what profound ways will being parents have altered us?

It’s something that I look forward to, even though I don’t know exactly what it will all mean. It’ll be a new experience. We’re both excited, though we feel that we aren’t prepared for it. We also think we’ll continue to feel unprepared for the next couple decades, however, so we decided to just get on with things. Parenthood is something that’s both enticing and terrifying at the same time. I’d liken it to bungee jumping, except that I’ve never done that, either.

How will we choose to celebrate Christmas? It’s not as if we celebrate the holiday because we’re particularly religious. But I do enjoy Christmas and its message of peace and goodwill among men. Besides, “Atheist Children Get Presents Day” is quite the mouthful.

And what about Santa? Will we take our baby to see Santa? It seems somewhat cruel to force someone wearing a hot suit to adore a small infant who, statistically, is likely to explode in bawling terror when handed to a giant, red stranger. Maybe that’ll be something further in the future.

Given the season, it’s hard not to think about looming parenthood even more than usual. Christmas abounds with images of children, whether begging for toys, unwrapping their toys, or immediately breaking their toys. Christmastime seems rife with imagery of the family; our definition of “family” is in transition.

Right now, saying “Christmas with our family” means we’re taking a trip to either my parents’ house or her parents’ house. Next year, we’ll be our own family. What will our child be like? What will we be like? Time will tell.

I only wish for us the same thing I wish for all of you: happiness, health, and peace. Merry Christmas!

[User Picture]From: peromyscus
2006-12-22 06:53 am (UTC)

Merry Christmas!
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[User Picture]From: marko_the_rat
2006-12-22 07:50 am (UTC)
You may be unprepared, but I know you and Kit are going to make great parents! Enjoy your last Christmas as a couple as you look forward to your first Christmas as a family.
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[User Picture]From: shockwave77598
2006-12-22 03:38 pm (UTC)
Doing so will mean less time for art and cons. I'm not persuading you, because I love all my girls. Just be ready for a culture shock when you cease being hubby and turn into daddy. Nothing I or any other father can tell you will adequately prepare you except to say that almost everything changes.

For example, babies love to eat colored markers. Colored anything, actually...
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[User Picture]From: shockwave77598
2006-12-22 03:35 pm (UTC)
I'd get pictures of the child at 6 months, but not with Santa. Save that for the next Xmas. Our first Xmas was up at 5am (get your sleep in now) and we exchanged presents and then drove off to other family. Wife and I slept on her mother's couch while the new grandparents looked after the baby. What will it be like? You'll be tired, grouchy, and very content with your loved ones around you.

Btw: Next year get a christmas tree ornament saying Baby's first Xmas or something like that. It becomes a keepsake.
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[User Picture]From: ankhorite
2006-12-22 07:38 pm (UTC)

Baby's First Ornament

No, don't. Let us do it for you. :) Savant and I give these to all the new babies. We just need name, weight, date.

Re "Atheist Children Get Presents Day," just teach the child that they are getting presents for the new year. Or for solstice. But new year is probably easier on everyone's nerves. :)
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[User Picture]From: furahi
2006-12-22 05:15 pm (UTC)
Merry Christmas :)

You know? Our very first Christmas with my nephew wasn't much different from the one before, except we were happier.
They gradually get more different as he becomes more aware, and willingly participating in them. I'd say the real turning point was when he was 3; the holiday became, pretty much, all about him for all of us, and that's not bad.
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[User Picture]From: twigmouse
2006-12-22 09:57 pm (UTC)
*snugs* You both have a wonderful holiday. I'm looking forward to seeing you guys next week. Have a safe trip :-)
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[User Picture]From: patch_bunny
2006-12-23 12:14 am (UTC)
You'll be needing a babycage, that's for certain.
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