Now that the holidays are over - well, not entirely; I just found out this morning that I don't have to report back to school until tomorrow - I can do my sum up of our festivities.
Christmas Day was exceptional. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, my wife and I bought some of Jude's presents at the Disney Store in NYC pre-Thanksgiving. He saw them and hugged them on the ride back to New Jersey on the train but we reinforced that he couldn't have them until Christmas because Santa had to put his magic on them. This worked and when we got home - thankfully he'd fallen asleep - we hid his toys.
Such is the amazing development of youth because he never forgot about them, as he's done with things when he was just a few months younger, and he always asked about them and when Santa was coming. So, on Christmas Eve, we got him to bed early, telling him that Santa couldn't come if he were still awake, and the next morning I got up early and placed the presents - all of them and not just the ones for him - under our tree. (There's something really cool and funny that I discovered when I'd gotten downstairs that I will blog about in my next post so keep tuned.) An hours or so later, I heard Jude and Guada stirring and Jude's voice. I couldn't make out what he'd said but I heard Guada say, "Let's see if Santa came."
The came down the stairs slowly, Jude leading the way but almost like he tiptoeing and trying to sneak up on someone. And, I think he was. As soon as he saw me on the sofa, he craned his neck left and right, while standing on the bottom step, looking beyond our tree and asked, "Where's Santa?" I guess he figured Santa was going to bring presents and stay and hang out with us. Now, how cool would that have been? Haha. I told him that Santa had to deliver other presents but that he'd come. To that, Jude came running around to the tree and exclaimed, smiling with his entire face, "Presents! Presents for me!"
One by one, we handed out the presents. The best part was, after Guada handed Jude his first present, Jude playing Santa. He made sure we all got a gift to open. Reading the tags, if we told him the present he was handing to us wasn't for us, he'd put it back and get another one. He even gave us presents of his to open, saying things like, "Now it's Daddy's turn. This is for Daddy" or "One present for Jude, one for Mommy, one for Daddy and one for Bauer (our dog)."
Seeing his delight touched Guada and I. I've written about this before but it bears repeating. It wasn't just his happiness at getting presents and presents he wanted that touched us. It was his innocence. The pure enjoyment of Christmas the way it should be celebrated by kids and even adults. The Bible says something about the childlike getting to Heaven. This is exactly what he was. And, as a child, he couldn't be anything but. However, by being patient and sharing the gifts and making sure everyone had something to open, Jude wasn't being childish and just storming through only his presents. Childlike and childish, after all, are two different things.
At church, too, he was amazing. He was so happy and singing the carols they played. Joanna, the NJ State Certified teacher at day care, did a great job with all the kids teaching them Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs. Jude knows so many of them that we can't help but be amazed when he chimes in when one of them comes up on the radio. After mass, we visited the Nativity and, thanks to my wife, he knew Papa Joseph, Mama Mary and Baby Jesus and he also knew that Christmas is Jesus' birthday. He also counted out the Three Kings.
As Jude gets older, he's going to become more aware and more knowledgeable and lose some of that innocence. He's also going to gain a greater appreciation of everything and love everything more. This was a fabulous Christmas in The Bas household and for that I am grateful. My wife and my son are my Christmas presents.
In addition to Jude's joy, I got to see Guada's too. She's wanted an iPad for forever and I saved it for last, wrapping it in the superhero Christmas paper we'd bought to use for Jude's gifts. I tried to play it like in "A Christmas Story," when Ralph's dad points out the hidden gift in the corner, Ralph's coveted Red Rider BB Gun. I almost pulled it off. The iPad was stuck in the corner and it was the last gift but Jude got it, seeing the paper and thinking it was his. When I said it was for Mommy, he handed it to Guada. Watching her use her iPad for music she'll use at work, downloading books and checking her email and logging into Facebook is just like watching Jude play with his Cars 2 boat and cars: pure, unadulterated joy.
I love Christmas and I like spreading it out from November to the Feast of the Three Kings. I'm not one of those guys who says Christmas should be all year and so on, although I do believe that joy should be. It's easier said than done but, as much as possible, it should be present in our lives. For us, it has been of late.
Merry Christmas (belated for the day itself but not for the season) and may all your days be filled with joy and lots of it.