:: After my dad and step-mom left, we had a week on our own, then my mom flew in and we passed the darkest days of the year cooking, eating, celebrating family and new life.
^Hazel often looks astonished to find herself here.^
My mom is a miracle. She spins magic in the kitchen,
Never shies away from toddler time, even crouching down on a newly-replaced knee to join her granddaughter in her new teepee,
and allows herself to melt into the softness of a newborn.
She was patient with Juniper's shake-n-dump style of cookie decorating and seemed to thoroughly enjoy endlessly cooking for our clan. (I KNOW. We are so grateful.) And she manages all this while maintaining her movie-star good looks (apparently that skips a generation).
Other than Christmas day, we had no agenda. We relaxed, went for frigid walks, discussed methods for getting Juniper to nap, had early bedtimes.
^First ski this winter was lulling Juniper to sleep in the back field.^
Well, she got the part about Santa Clause and presents under the tree and candy canes, at any rate.
:: Hazel and I spend a lot of time like this and Christmas was no exception:
:: This year, most of our gifts were wrapped with Juniper's artwork:
:: This kitchen was a birthday/Christmas gift from the Montana side of our clan. I have never seen Juniper so excited about a single object. She'd been setting up elaborate picnics and serving sandwiches, salsa and cupcakes for weeks, but when this kitchen oven arrived she dressed as a monster, butchered her reindeer and baked her horse. My man is pretty proud of her blatant display of carnivory.
:: The day before my mom left, Juniper started acting out. She deliberately picked up a wine glass and threw it on the floor. The next morning she pleaded with my mom, "Grandma want to sleep in the rocking chair?" Which is what she says to my husband every night before bed in an effort to convince him to stay in her room. When I found her in the mudroom hugging my mom's suitcase, I knew what was going on. I'd been telling her that grandma would have to get on an airplane and go back home. Juniper knew we were saying goodbye, and this time she knew what that meant. She is an incredibly articulate girl, and we have been trying to raise her with emotional intelligence, but still, her toddler heart translated strong feelings into strong actions.
The day my mom left, our Montana clan arrived to carry us into the new year (more on that in another post). And when they left Juniper didn't break a wine glass. Instead, she clutched her dad and said, "I'm....I'm saaad."
And now here we are, carried into the new year on the backs of our incredibly generous family. Missing them all, but feeling their abundance of love from afar and a happy glow as we step into these next twelve months.
^Juniper is in the stroller, Hazel is the bulge under my coat.^
HAPPY NEW YEAR from our family to yours.