i know it sounds so cliche, but it's true.
Garrison's mother and father just recently came home from a "we-just-retired-vacation." on their vacation my father-in-law kept noticing some heart issues like getting winded much easier than normal and his left side hurting, etc. and decided to get it checked out when he returned home. well, the doctors immediately knew he had clogged arteries and tried to perform a surgery to put in a stint, but when that didn't work because his heart was in too poor of condition they scheduled open heart surgery. he ended up having a quadruple bypass three days before christmas. he was in the hospital until the day after christmas, and thankfully everything has gone well so far.
about a week before christmas garrison and i were driving in the car and he says to me "i want it to snow already, i want to shovel the walks." i laughed at him, thinking he was being sarcastic. he stared back blankly at me and i said "oh, your serious? why??" and he said in all seriousness "because it's a way i can help others." (i am the luckiest woman alive to be married to this quality of a specimen, i know) well, it didn't snow enough to need shoveling until christmas day this year, but he found another way to serve during that time... he slept with his dad at the hospital each night, just to be with him and to help if the nurses weren't strong enough to help his dad get in and out of bed.
this made for an unusual christmas eve, where we hurried to get bayli to bed, wrapped the last few presents, put them under the tree, filled stockings, and sent him on his way to go back to the hospital. i stayed home and watched a movie or two and finally fell asleep alone in our bed. at 6:00 christmas morning, when bayli woke up requesting chocolate chips for breakfast (coco puffs), i called garrison who was already on his way home, and in he came like jolly old st nick himself. he warmed up and cuddled in bed with us for a few minutes as we waited for my parents to arrive and open presents.
the evening after christmas was the first time garrison was able to feel our new little one move. she gave him a nice big undeniable kick almost immediately after putting his hand on my belly. that moment, his expression, not even having to ask "was that her?" he just knew. she said hi. that was a fun present too.
there are like a million little stories in this post, none of which really connect. but... all of these events have just made me so grateful for my family this christmas season, both immediate and extended. the nights garrison spent with his dad were moments where that quote "absence makes the heart grow fonder" seemed very true. Getting to have so many fun moments with our unborn child, feeling her move, seeing her face via ultrasound, and finding out her gender, all were moments where i just stood in awe at what our bodies can do. and how precious life is. watching our bayli girl enjoy this holiday with such enthusiasm and childlike wonder. Saying things like "ho, merry christmas!" and "santa clause is my favorite" and "santa clause IS coming to town" all on her own without prompting has been the very best. it really has been my favorite christmas so far. (although i bet next year, christmas with two kiddos will try and take it's place at the top)
I hope you had a wonderful christmas! and give your loved ones an extra big hug tonight.