In the mornings, I listen to her waking up. She hums and talks to herself in her baby language. Da-dee-dee. DA-dee-dee. Outside it's still black and cold. The lights from the baby monitor, the alarm clock glow in the dark. I listen to her: Hmm-hmm-hmm, hmm-hmm-hmm. The first six notes of "Jingle Bells," over and over. I hum the rest to myself, smiling. Eventually she insists — HMM HMM HMM! — and I know it's only a minute or two until it's a flat-out squawk — Come and get me now, people! I got you, babe. I am here.
These bright, brisk days the house fills with her sounds. The humming, the chatting, the thumping of the walking, the thumping of the dropping of things, the sliding of chairs across rug, across wood, the bongo drums, the tiny piano, the jingle bells that she shakes and bangs, the stumbling, the falling, the crying, the giggling, the chasing of the dog, the banging of spoons on trays, the banging of blocks on gates, the clatter of the tin cake-carrier when she drops it (favorite thing to carry around), the bubble-blowing, the singing, the questioning, the humming, the dear, sweet, jolly blah-blah of babydom, and oh, my stars, oh, oh how I love it so.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful week of peace and tenderness, and simple pleasures wherever you find them. I hope joy comes to you, and your family, and your friends, and your animals in this wintertime, and I hope there are wonders, too, and wishes that come true. I hope you get to give a kid a great present, walk in the snow, go ice skating, see the city lights, sit in front of a crackling fireplace, or hold a sleeping baby. I hope you find magic in the season, especially in the moments when you least expect it. Thank you for being a part of our lives this year, and, from all of us Paulsons, I wish you much love and happiness. Merry, merry Christmas to you.