Two of our four children were born at Christmas time. Despite the deep fatigue and life changing chaos, those were extra special holidays – with sweet teeny babes in floppy elf sleepers, snuggled in a grandparent’s eager arms while tree lights twinkled in the background. Eighteen years after those births, when our first ‘child’ had been away for the first time to university for three long months of not-enough-communication, those holidays times were extra special again.
I remember so clearly the anticipation of Zoë coming home to sleep in her bed again at the close of first term and how giddy that made the rest of the household as we searched for the tree stand and the rice krispee roll recipe. I wrote about that in my book Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest – and I’d like to share a snippet of that here in a holiday blog.
“Zoë was different after being at university. I noticed that the first evening she was back as we lingered around the table after dinner, bombarding her with questions. It was a look on her face, a quality it was hard to put my finger on, except to say that she had drifted away a little bit. I had gazed around the room at her siblings, her brothers Cole and Hudson, and her little sister Lily, and imagined us all reuniting after future ventures. Zoë swore that she would travel to the far north someday, being captivated by the notion of a trip to Yellowknife or even Inuvik. Cole insisted he was going to snowboard in the southern hemisphere. Hudson was harder to pin down –I think he aspired to travel back and forth in time, and back then I wrongly viewed our youngest, Lily, as a home body.
During the holiday season I would be happy to imagine them all simply staying put. I was going to pretend for the three weeks that Zoë would be home that she had never left. We would decorate a too tall, slightly lope-sided tree together and my husband would insist once more on putting up the goofy looking angel Zoë made in kindergarten. I wanted it to be a holiday season full of my kids dog piling on top of one another, and watching Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, all of us singing aloud to the Sisters’ song –
‘All kinds of weather
We stick together
The same in the rain or sun
Two diff’rent faces
But in tight places
We think and we act as one‘ 
I intended to encourage Zoë to humor Lily and I, and come skating with us on the lake near their grandparent’s property, after which we three would go for lattés, before coming home to whip up a batch of butter tarts for Christmas Eve. I knew Zoë would be impatient to go hang with her friends, but I hoped to convince her to indulge us with a skate around the lake first. I’d ask, but I promised to be a grown-up about it myself and not harass her to join us – just to ask.
She needed time to reconnect with her same-age peers. At ages eighteen and thirteen my daughters couldn’t really act as one, but I knew that on Christmas Eve they would raise their voices with Bing Crosby’s and happily sing about it.”
New babies and growing up children – both added loveliness to the holidays. May this season bring tranquility to you and yours.
 Berlin, Irving. “Sisters.” Lyrics. White Christmas. The Movie. 1954