“It’s Christmas” I hear her delight as she runs screeching through the house. “Get up everybody Santa’s been here!” I almost grin listening to how happy she is. Her hair flies as she jumps into my bed and starts bouncing up and down. “Mommy, Daddy get up Santa came!” I struggle up in the mattress, give my spouse a rueful smile and whisper sorry quietly so our intruder won’t hear. We struggle downstairs wrapped in blankets and make coffee and breakfast insisting we eat before opening presents. Sitting at the table with a grumpy look she nevertheless eats her mandatory meal, although inhaled it might be a better description.
She rips through her presents exclaiming in delight at her toys and other gifts but then she gets to the last one. The expression on her face so awestruck I smile but when she pulls the doll out of the box and cradles it in her arms something hits me. I excuse myself and run up the stairs and into my bathroom. I turn on the shower as I always do when this feeling hits. I can’t let her hear, I can’t ruin the holiday, but all I can do is cry and remember before, when I was her baby.