A Cozy Christmas Evening

Sights and Sounds of Home

The sounds of dinner preparations are coming from the kitchen. It’s the usual cucina povera — peasant foodthat warms our home and our tummies; tried and true techniques that stretch the dollars and practice the art of taking simple ingredients and turning them into a lovely, warming meal. The flavors of love and tenderness are always present. Amid the sounds of pots and pans, whisks and the opening/closing of the refrigerator door, I can also hear my husband’s shoes walking through the kitchen, and the occasional clearing of his throat or sometimes even humming. They are happy, human, wholesome sounds that make the house feel so lived-in.

I am in the living room, and only a couple lamps are shining. There is a corner by the window, illuminated with a floor lamp behind a cushioned rocking chair. You’d usually find a chair like this in a nursery; however when we were preparing for our baby, the lack of rooms meant that she’d have a crib in our bedroom and the living room would include lots of baby furniture. It’s in this rocking chair that I sit, rocking to and fro in the light of the Christmas tree. My sweet daughter, now almost 10 months old, is in my arms, all bathed and cozied in pajamas. I have a fleece blanket wrapped over both of us.

We read our seasonal story: You’re My Little Christmas Cookie by Nicola Edwards. My daughter’s little fingers pointed and scratched wonderingly at the buttons on the gingerbread and snowman illustrations. She drinks her bedtime bottle.

Now with her tummy warm and full of milk, she reclines, legs draped over my lap, completely relaxed. She’s trying not to fall asleep, but I can see her eyelids becoming heavier and heavier. She looks at me, her spirit and mine savoring being so close together, just sharing space, needing nothing else.

Time stops.

There is nothing else that is needed right now, just rocking together in peace and safety. My eyes close every so often; not that I’m falling asleep, more like how a cat closes its eyes in comfort and delight. My daughter is falling asleep, but trying to keep her eyes open enough to look at me. I feel grateful and proud that in this moment, my daughter can feel being wrapped up so warm and secure, lulled by the sway of the rocking chair, and can see in the same view a magical Christmas tree as well as her mother’s face, looking at her with love and acceptance. I pray for a moment that somewhere her brain will remember this, let it be a building block of her life experience, let her grow up certain that she is loved, cherished, accepted, a treasure.

Her eyes close, and they don’t open anymore this evening. She has fallen asleep. A precious angel with soft, sweet breaths in my arms. I take a moment before the journey to carry her to her crib. I watch the Christmas tree for a few moments. I glance at the stockings we decorated with puff paint; writing “Mama” and “Daddy” on them for the first time.

It’s a moment surrounded and filled with all my favorite things: loveliness, togetherness, nourishment, safety, serenity, calm, sentimentality, sweetness, abundance.