By Genevieve A. Suzuki | Gen-X in a Millennial World
When my husband, Derek, and I had our daughter more than six years ago, we knew our holidays were going to be that much more special. Our first child was going to re-infuse magic into our Easters, Halloweens and Christmases – we would have adorable photos of her in bunny ears, a mini-me in a witch costume and a reason to hang and fill stockings.
And when it comes to the biggest holiday of the year, nothing says “newbie parents” like the delusional beliefs and efforts of two people striving to give an infant the perfect Christmas.
Because Quinn was born in February, she was around 10 months on her first Christmas. As any experienced parent will tell you, at that age, she was most excited about mashed bananas, bright lights and Daddy saying, “Wee-dee-wee-dee-woooh!,” while tickling her tummy.
But I just knew her first Christmas was going to be special. I bought the cheeriest primary-colored toys, decorated them with the prettiest wrap and ribbons, and stuffed her stocking with a handful of genius baby gadgets.
On Christmas morning, we woke Quinn up with a “Merry Christmas!,” deciding her everyday smile was extra special that day. When we walked downstairs, we enthused, “Wow! Look who came for you last night! Santa came last night! And check out your stocking! It’s full of gifts from Santa!”
We may as well have dressed a cat up like an elf and paraded it around our homey winter wonderland, asking it how it liked its gifts from Santa. Quinn looked around the room, searching for her mashed-banana breakfast.
Unwrapping her presents was an even bigger dose of reality. As we ripped open each gift and talked up each toy, she gleefully reached for the cardboard boxes, discarded paper and ribbons on the floor.
“No, Quinn, look at this bright choo-choo train that recites the alphabet in 10 languages! Watch Elmo freak out and dance like crazy! Look at this baby genius rubber ball!”
She’d look up for a few seconds before judging us insane and returning to the awesome cardboard boxes, discarded paper and ribbons on the floor.
“Too soon, Gen, too soon,” said Derek, sympathetically patting me on the back before turning to Quinn and saying, “Wee-dee-wee-dee-woooh!”
I realized then that Quinn’s first Christmas wasn’t special because it was her first Christmas. Rather, it was extraordinary because it was our first Christmas with her.
Six years later, our Quinn appreciates the glory of Christmas morning. She looks forward to the special mass at St. Martin of Tours with Father Jim and understands that good behavior during the year translates into a full stocking and gifts under the tree from Santa Claus.
“Mommy, I can’t wait to see what Santa brings Deacon,” she said, confident jolly old Saint Nick wouldn’t let her new baby brother down.
Alas, Santa learned a hard lesson with baby Quinn that likely won’t be repeated with poor Deacon. Other than a couple of toys wrapped for him under the tree and a few odds and ends in his stocking, Deacon may just find a few empty boxes with his name on it under the tree. After all, nothing makes a baby’s first Christmas like cardboard boxes, discarded paper and ribbons.