Friday, December 21, 2012

Anticipating Christmas ... A Conversation with Ann Marie

I had to take a minute and record a bit of my conversation with Ann Marie on our way home from dance. I will try to quote it as exactly as possible. Items in italics are my thoughts (even if they are in the middle of Annie's dialogue) during the conversation.

Mom: So Annie, what are you most looking forward to about Christmas, gifts under the tree? Surprise gifts? Santa gifts? Those were always the things I most anticipated.

Annie: You mean on Christmas eve or Christmas day?

Mom: Either? What are you most anticipating about Christmas in general? Certainly she wouldn't be anticipating opening pjs on Christmas eve more than seeing what Santa brings right? But I guess I shouldn't suggest what she should anticipate most.

Annie: I am most looking forward to giving Lauren and Sabrina their presents. They are going to LOVE them!

A memory flashes in my mind of a 4 year old Annie the Christmas of 2007 (our only Christmas with Camille) and Annie being over the top excited as each person opened her gift. "You are going to LOVE it! You are going to LOVE it!" she screamed each time jumping up and down. I shouldn't be surprised that the part of Christmas she is most anticipating is giving her gifts.

And I am excited to wake up and go downstairs singing the song.

 She too loves the tradition of gathering in Mom and Dad's room in the morning and all going down to the Christmas tree and all the gifts and stockings singing "Here Come Santa Claus" just as I did as a child.

And I am anxious to see what the boys will get so I can see how hard it will be to clean up.

Here she shoots me one of her looks. It says "you know it's true."

Because you know whatever they get they are going to make a mess with it and then we will have to clean it up. So if they get something that is easy to clean up... that will be good and I will like it. If they get something with lots of little pieces... I will not like it, because we both know I will be cleaning it up all the time.

Annie cleaning up the boys train tracks tonight trying to give me that look but not quite able to reproduce it.

Now I am just smiling. Huge smiling. My heart is smiling, my face is smiling. It is true. She will be cleaning it up. So will I. So will her sisters. And hopefully one day so will the boys. Something tells me she isn't going to like very many of the boys presents. There are a couple sets of Duplos and Hot Wheels in those packages. 

Even more, I am smiling because this is the end of her list of what she is anticipating most about Christmas and she hasn't even thought to include any presents for herself. What a rare child this one is. Sometimes conversations like this remind me of how unusual she is for a child and it just makes me smile.

Help Newtown Families

Remember a few years ago when I did that auction for Emily Jones on this blog? Her husband passed away in after getting stuck in the Nutty Puddy caves over the Thanksgiving weekend. That was the best Christmas I can remember because of how much I felt the giving spirit.

Well a fellow angel mom, Ashley Sullenger, turned me on to a an auction for the families of the children from Sandy Hook Elementary. It is on Tiffany's blog HERE. But it is only up till Dec. 26th so go over there and bid if you can. They have great stuff.

I got a few emails from my sister in law Rachel this morning. Remember my angel tree?

It is filled with angels all of you sent me the Christmas after Camille died. The one in Ann Marie's hand was handmade by my sister in law Rachel. That year she made one for each of her siblings and gave them their "Camille angel ornaments" for their Christmas present. Each year they put their ornaments up and remember my baby girl.

Well one of Rachel's sisters live near Newtown, Connecticut. She is in the same stake (a church name for a unit of our church that is made up of about 10 congregations) as Emily Parker's family. Emily was a 6 year old victim in the shooting.

Rachel's sister was inspired by my tree and organized a group of people to make and donate angels to the Parker family. They made so many ornaments that they decorated trees in the primary room at church, a tree at the fire house, and they sent a bunch of ornaments to Utah for Emily's funeral.

Here are a few photos Rachel sent me. Thanks to all those who worked on this project. I know what a treasure these angels will be in the future.
 Primary room (Childrens classroom at Emily's church)
 Firehouse Tree
Angel tree at the funeral.