That's how Christmas has been in our home for the last ten years for our little family. No one ever made a Christmas wish list or ever asked for anything in particular. We gave each other what we could, and there was always a sense of gratitude. It was fun to shop and fun to give because you didn't feel the pressure of making sure it was what they wanted or asked for. I bought little things all year long so I had plenty to give to others at Christmas and didn't have to struggle financially once December rolled around. We lived for many years with no extra money on hand, then a few years where we lived comfortably enough to splurge on some nice things, then nearly penniless again last year as we scraped our way through Juan David's second adoption process.
Every aspect of life has changed this year, though, and how it affected the spirit of Christmas took me by surprise. It's left me feeling disappointed. Part of me found myself pressured to make everything just right and perfect for Juan David's first Christmas home. Another part of me felt pressured to make everything just perfect for David because of how much he's given up in the last several years just for us to get Juan David home.
With only one child, we could give what we could and that was okay. He appreciated everything. Now that there's a sibling, there's a constant comparison game going on, so I had to be careful to make sure everything was equal--that both boys got the same amount of things and that they were equal in value and in sentiment. David actually made a wish list this year, and Juan David said he was going to do the same until I told him all the shopping had already been done. All of this is new to me as a new mom of two. I'll have to admit that I don't really like it. The joy of giving isn't quite the same.
This has also been one of the most financially challenging years yet. We lived by absolute faith that God would provide every penny for us to finish up Juan David's adoption without having to get a loan. We ended up having a family help us out in the end, and we're paying them back each month rather than paying back on an official loan. All time, money, energy, and emotion this year went into that process and then into starting our lives together--so you can imagine that I didn't store up a single gift during the year to hand out to others at Christmastime. We had to accept that this year is all about family because our family is in a completely new stage. We're still trying to settle in and adjust after all of the hustle and bustle of getting Juan David home. Maybe we can reach out to others again next year.
With that said, I am looking forward to our yearly "Kloppmann" tradition of going to the Christmas Eve service, coming home to eat pizza, start a fire, and open our gifts in front of the fireplace. In a quiet, relaxed, and peaceful atmosphere. I look forward to seeing David's reaction to Christmas with a sibling and Juan David's reaction to spending Christmas with a family.