OART 21: The Most Wonderful Time

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.

Last year we wrote about the holiday season in general. This year, inspired by a recent post by Claud, I thought we could focus in on traditions.

How do open adoption and holiday traditions intersect in your life?

My mother wants to send Cricket an advent calendar. Oh, she knows that she can’t—but I secretly wish that she could. While my mother surely wishes that Cricket were being raised as a Christian, there is a whole heap of Christmas traditions that she wishes that she could share with him . . . and so do I. My family is overwhelmingly German, so we have a Christmas with advent calendars and those horrible soft gingerbread cookies (although come to think of it, it’s been many years since we had these—perhaps my Omi was the only one pushing for them. So gross) and that odd candle-powered dingy angel thing and a räuchermänn as well as Santa Claus et al. Cricket, of course, does not celebrate Christmas. His adoptive grandparents do, so he surely will see some lighted trees etc. from the sidelines, but his mama Ruth is adamant that he not grow celebrating Christmas, as she feels that Hanukkah tends to suffer by comparison in the eyes of a child. We are allowed to send a Christmas gift—I actually got this written into our agreement—but it ought not to be intrinsically Christmassy.

I have never celebrated Hanukkah (we’ve missed both of Cricket’s birthday/Hanukkah parties so far), but have a vague understanding of what it’s like. At the same time, I love Christmas, not just in a Christian way (although midnight mass is one of my favorite things) but in the secular Bing Crosby way. Mr. Book loves Christmas. My parents love Christmas. My mother has apparently been thinking about collecting one of those tiny Christmas villages for the benefit of wide-eyed grandchildren—she has made up a Christmas stocking for Joey, and I am deeply curious to see what will go into it. She bought a children’s Christmas book to add to our pile while she was in Stumptown (I heard a story on NPR a few years back about a family who have a big Tupperware container full of Christmas books that gets brought out every December and immediately wanted to do that). Mr. Book and I watch Christmas movies all throughout December, and are constantly on the lookout for more good old ones. I look forward to making Christmas cookies every year, and slowly accumulate more and more decorating supplies to that end. Mr. Book has already sung carols to Joey. We have a box of See’s candy waiting for my return home (my family), and on Christmas I will make noodles (his family) and we’ll watch movies and open presents and play with the baby. Probably there will be trifle.

Today I spent the afternoon decorating the Christmas tree with my mother. It’s Cricket’s birthday, and I’m sure that she doesn’t remember that—she’s been bragging to people about the birth of her first grandchild, and only last night said that “I’ve been saying for a couple of years now that we need to have a baby for Christmas.” Today I’ve had a few quiet, sad moments, but there is also Christmas stuff going on and I want to be involved. Sure, I’d rather we were doing it tomorrow, but my mom has today off work, and here we are, listening to carols, me thinking about Cricket and feeling my breasts ache. It is the strangest thing, that physical reaction. Cricket got a gift from us last week and hopefully a card today, we’ll send two books in a week or so . . . and our December is otherwise completely separate from him. I think about the fact that my father’s birthday is on Christmas Eve and Cricket’s birthday is apparently usually going to be during Hanukkah. I hope he doesn’t mind.