Being on bed rest has allowed Mike and I to avoid a lot of the potential landmines of the holiday season. We bought all our Christmas presents online, so we didn’t have to see the kids lining up to see Santa at the mall. When we’re in the car, we either have the radio off or a CD on so we don’t hear Christmas music. We’re not decorating our house, so we don’t have Madeline’s ornaments up on a tree.

Still, it’s impossible to avoid the season despite our best efforts. The hospital and doctors’ offices are decked out in menorahs and holly. All my favorite TV shows are airing holiday episodes. Christmas cards are appearing in our mailbox.

Mike and I have been cleaning, trying to prepare for Binky’s arrival in a few weeks. Well, Mike cleans and I lay nearby. As we go through boxes and piles in an attempt to make room for a fourth person, we’ve come across unexpected things:

The stockings I bought last year on clearance, waiting to be monogrammed with our names. One for me, one for Mike, one for Madeline, one for Rigby, and one for the baby I knew we’d be adding;

Two unsent holiday cards from last year;

our funny card

Maddie’s red Christmas shoes;

An unopened 2008 ornament with a place for a picture and a little chip to record a voice;

And, Maddie’s picture with Santa.

Santa08

I see pieces of last Christmas and remember how hopeful we were that 2009 would be even better. We had big plans: were going to get a tree, decorate, maybe even wake up in a new house. I see these pieces and I’m reminded none of those things came true.

We can’t avoid the holidays, but we can cling to our one perfect Christmas when we had our daughter and a world of endless possibility.