|December 05 2011 | written by: Megan Sayer|
|My First-Baby Christmas|
If I could recreate the world the way I wanted to (and don’t tell me that it wouldn’t be fun!) I’d arrange all babies to be born with some kind of instruction manual, like a new car. How do you really do this parenting thing?
Nowhere, ever, do parenting books prepare you for Christmas.
Our first Christmas with a child we were poor. Dirt poor; Mother-Hubbard style. I’d finished my casual job when our baby came. We coped okay, and we knew it wouldn’t last. We’d never been caught up in things too much, and never considered ourselves very materialistic.
That, though, was before kids.
Somehow, through the process of giving birth, something changed. I discovered there’s nothing quite like being poor and walking into a department store in December.
Those places are designed to make parents – especially new parents – feel guilty. Everything screams at me, Your Child Needs This! What Kind of Parent Are You Who Will Not Buy a Dream House/Ride-in Car/Colour-Co-ordinated Cot Accessories/Manic Robotic Talking Teddy Bear!
What parent doesn’t want the best for their kids? I wanted my baby to feel loved, and I wanted to give her the best start I could in life. My own long-buried memories of being the kid at school with the wrong clothes, the wrong hair and no Barbie dolls became the snarling dog biting in my mind. I sat under our tired little Christmas tree and cried.
The memory of that first-baby Christmas greets me each year. I know now that it doesn’t matter. Over the years kids somehow end up with enormous collections of Barbie dolls, party dresses, toy cars and assorted junk, and that most of it, most of the time, is left in the cupboard. I know now they grow up just fine.
This Christmas though, alongside that first-baby memory, another thought surfaced. While we’re busy preparing the fanciest dinners and most beautifully decorated trees, parties and presents, what we’re celebrating is the inglorious arrival of a baby. I bet God, in some little part of his heart, wanted his son to be born in a fancy palace and be draped in the finest silks and linens. Instead of a palace he was born in a smelly cow-shed, next to a tired donkey.
Today I’m reconciled to that first-baby Christmas memory. God understands. He’s been there. And that, really, is what Christmas is all about.