This is a Really Real Parenting Post.
This is my first Christmas since Kidlet moved across the country to start his own life as an adult.
He started walking on his first Christmas, at 9 months old, not even walking, but running across the living room at my mothers house, where we lived, to get to his presents.
And now he’s been across the country for 9 months.
A year later, I remember staying up half the night putting together a giant play kitchen for him, something he was probably too young for, but I had the money and it was something I knew would last him. He got a tool bench that year too, and a talking doll, and so many other gifts because the money was there and I was so used to being broke.
There was the Christmas that we were so broke I handmade every one of his presents, and he received his favorite one, I think, to date. A set of 3/4 inch pvc pipes cut to different lengths, along with connectors. They became swords and guns and goals and places to hook blankets for forts. We added to the set over the years and he played with them until he was much much older.
There were the Toys for Tots years, and the hand me down years, and the years that my family and friends made Santa happen. There were years that I figured it out too, and made Christmas happen on my own, and damn, they felt good.
The year he learned that Santa was in all of us, the spirit of giving and helping and paying it forward to another family when you can.
I have memories of Christmases where we started different traditions.
My grandmothers ceramic tree in his room with small gifts wrapped underneath it, for him to open alone in his room, to let us sleep in, of course.
The years I’d let him open gifts from family members a few days early, spreading them out day by day, because I couldn’t wait to see the joy on his face. I just couldn’t wait.
We’re used to being apart on holidays, he would spend months at a time at his father’s, states away, and I know this isn’t my first Christmas without him, but this one is so much different. This one is the first of many with him living on his own, starting his own traditions with his own family.
I’m so proud of who he is and all he is capable of. I’m so proud of him for spreading his wings and flying.
But I remember when he started walking that first Christmas, and tonight, I miss him.