I’m sitting here in
our cozy, unfinished, NYC apartment, Christmas lights and tree sparkling all
around me. Graysen turned the
Christmas lights on (and off and on and off and on), and though he is now in
bed, I am enjoying the memory of his joy at flicking the switch.
Ted is off at his new job with world renowned architect Robert A.M.
Stern. I just finished a Don
Borling sermon from All Saints Lutheran Church, so I am in a contemplative,
well I remember all the preparations for Christmas at our house growing up. Everything was so magical and ritualistic…we picked out the
tree together, Dad and Jim would always do the lights, Mom, Ilene and I did the
decorating…well mostly Ilene and I…well mostly me…Ilene would always do
the manger scene in the kitchen window. My
Mom made cookies, upon cookies and we all made peppernuts or “bloop” cookies
together. They were renamed
“bloop” cookies for the sound my Dad made when putting them on the cookie
sheet. I remember one year, during
this ritual, it snowed a whole bunch, maybe 4 or 5 inches.
It was a school night, but at 9:00 p.m., my parents decided we should go
sledding. We bundled up and piled
into the car and headed over to a forest preserve that had a huge hill.
There, in the moonlight, on a school night, we sledded until after 11:00
I have always carried
on the memories of my childhood in my own little way here in NYC, but now that
Graysen is in our life, everything seems more resonant. We went to our regular sidewalk vendor who comes down
annually from Canada and paid way too much for a Christmas tree.
Graysen couldn’t believe we had a tree in the house!
We decorated the tree together, although Graysen spent most of the time
taking ornaments off the tree. “Ball”
he kept saying. I guess I never
realized how many ornaments are actually balls!
One of our favorite traditions is the Mardi Gras beads saved from our
wedding that we put on the tree instead of tinsel.
Graysen has created his own ritual – daily – of taking beads off,
wearing them around the house and putting them back on the tree.
There is actually a section of the tree near the bottom that no longer
has ornaments or beads because Graysen keeps taking them off.
wanted to make Christmas cookies, but the only cookie cutter I could find was a
pig. So, we made Christmas piggies and Graysen shook the sugar, green and red,
on to each piggy. These piggies
have a lot more sugar that cookie, as you can well imagine, some even have
little fingerprints. Those are my
We went to see Santa
Claus at Bergdorf Goodman’s – the ritziest department store on Fifth Avenue.
They take appointments and Santa has a real beard!
Real or not, Graysen wasn’t interested in sitting on Santa’s lap.
He wasn’t interested in sitting on my lap on Santa’s lap!
We all had a good laugh, Ted, me and Santa—everyone except Graysen!
We took in the model
train show and the Rockefeller tree with about a million other visitors.
The wind had all the flags around the skating rink standing at attention,
red, green and gold – stunning! New
York is such an amazing city!
I think, I hope, I will
remember this Christmas the way I remember Christmas as a kid.
I will remember this whole year that way. Graysen’s first steps, his
first words, the inflection in his voice when he says “Mama” or “Dada”
(it’s different from other words, I promise).
I wonder, is this how every parent feels those first few years?
Does it last longer than that? When
does what your kid does get to be ordinary?
I think about my
grandmother, Mimi, she was always telling us stories about my Mom as a kid.
Bedstemor, too, had her stories. We
knew them so well, we could recite them word for word.
Now, I know why they told them.
The crazy thing is, Graysen
won’t remember this year at all. I
guess that must mean that there are more amazing years to come for him to
remember. Or, Ted and I will just
have to tell him the stories of this amazing year.
We will tell Graysen the stories, but we will just list the highlights
Ted graduated with a BA in
Architecture from Columbia on Graysen’s Birthday
Graysen turned one – now 19
Karri was promoted to Director of
the Columbia College Fund
his first steps – now running!
Ted & Karri directed Danebod
Camp in August
Graysen said his first words –
“Bye-eeeee” and “Wow” are current favorites!
Ted started with Robert A.M. Stern
Architects this fall
The Ketelsens visited in September
Graysen says “Moo” for the cow
Found a new home for Nisse in
The Quartemonts visited in October
Graysen learns to say “Memily”
Ted & Graysen visited Grandma
Sara, Daddy Tom and the Youngbloods in Kentucky in November
Spent Thanksgiving with the Jenmans
Visited Karen & Jim in DC, too
Graysen discovered airplanes at the
new Air & Space Museum
Mom & Dad made several trips to
Graysen says “Fa Fa”
Looking forward to Christmas in
Palos Park and New Year’s in Florida
It truly has been a
remarkable year. We look forward to
creating new stories in 2006 – hopefully with all of you!
Happy New Year!
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