Thursday, December 24, 2015

the difference a year makes

It's Christmas Eve morning. One of the most magical mornings of my childhood- the one where all the festivities are just on the brink of beginning. I still remember that innocent anticipation: there would be church tonight, and candles, a Christmas dress and fancy shoes. And tomorrow morning, waking my younger siblings at the break of dawn for presents and cinnamon buns, my parents with tired eyes and coffee mugs. 

This year, I sit at our well-loved table with my (decaf) coffee, look out at the view I've seen every morning these three years. The stockings are hung, the candles lit. Presents are wrapped and hiding out until tomorrow morning, when there will be cinnamon buns- though no longer quite at dawn. 

It's only been a year and in some ways, everything's the same. Same table, same view. Same Christmas star hanging in the window. Tonight there will be delicious food and we'll watch Home Alone again. Tomorrow there will be meals shared with friends new and old, a train ride, family (here and on Skype). Same traditions, same holiday, very similar menu.

And yet one year ago today it was all different. Everything's changed, even while nothing's changed. We are not the same people we were last year, not even the same family. There is a 17 week old baby celebrating Christmas with us this year. Two days ago we saw that baby through the ultrasound wiggle their fingers and toes, almost like they were waving hello. 

And we too are different people. Our lives and hearts are expanding as we get ready for this baby to arrive on this earth. We've had so many experiences of joy this year, but they've also been undercut by intense pain and sorrow. The journey to where we are today has not been easy and walking it together has deepened our relationship, has changed us. 

So this morning, on this Christmas Eve I want to hold onto this moment- with this table, this view, these candles. Sometimes when we're slogging through the routines of everyday life, it can be difficult to see where we've come from. We are a million miles from last December, though we sit here in this same apartment. And I don't ever want to forget the magic of all that can happen in just one year. 


  1. You write so beautifully, Ruth, I'm quite moved. I love hearing about your traditions, and they sound absolutely magical, the "old you" and the "new you". I'm very excited to follow you on your adventure, and I'm so happy that I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago. Have a wonderful Christmas, and a very happy new year!
    Love, Elise.

  2. Thank-you for the reminder that each year is different and that there is no way to know how the next year will be. I wish every happiness for you and your growing family.