An honest take on life and parenthood

A Christmas Memory

on December 19, 2013

In the spirit of the Christmas season, I would like to share a precious memory with you.

Here it is.


As the Pooh’s first Christmas approaches, she is ten months old, all soft cheeks and round legs and dimpled hands. Dark curls sprout off her round head in random spots, and I capture a few with a clip-on bow. She intensely studies everything around her, her eyes round and brown.

We are early in our journey together as mother and daughter, and we are still getting acquainted.  I have yet to discover the tiny Rumpelstiltskin that lurks in her heart, waiting to spring forth in toddlerhood. For now, we coexist in easy harmony. She communicates with facial expressions and cries, and I respond with words and one-sided conversations.

During this innocent time, her needs are simple: a diaper change, a fresh strawberry to nom with her gums, a game of This Little Piggy, a cuddle. Although I am tired, I feel as if I have finally gotten the hang of the baby thing, and we have a nice rhythm going.

I decide to take her to the King of Prussia Mall to get out of the house and enjoy the spirit of the holiday.

I bundle her up and drive to the posh mall. We approach the entrance and I hit the automatic button on the heavy glass doors. They open to us with a whoosh of warm, elegantly scented air. I push the stroller through.

Hundreds of red poinsettias greet us at the entrance, as queenly and arresting as Aretha herself. Fat velvet ribbons festoon columns and entranceways. White lights twinkle all around us. Towering Christmas decorations rise three stories high.

I push the stroller past the sleek Apple store, teeming with people; stop to admire the bags in the window of Louis Vuitton; and blink at the Cartier diamonds and watches sparkling behind heavy glass.  People rush all around us, swinging purses and shopping bags, talking into phones.

We arrive to a rotunda, where two glossy black Lexus cars are parked.  The scent of strong coffee drifts over from Starbucks, along with the sound of foaming milk. Every once in a while, a puff of expensive perfume wafts through the air from Neiman Marcus.

The Pooh fusses, so I remove her from her stroller and place her in the baby Bjorn I have strapped on to my body. It’s her favorite place, and she snuggles in against me. I tell her to look up at the twinkling Christmas lights in the rotunda. She tilts her round head, looks up, and smiles.

Then she does the most unexpected thing.

She kisses me, landing a sweet baby kiss on my cheek.

I laugh with surprise.

Delighted by my reaction, she does it again. And again.

Over and over, she rains baby kisses on my mommy cheeks, giggling madly at her prank. All I can see through a blur of tears are the swirling white starry lights in the rotunda above and around us, as we laugh and spin in a magical dance.

We are surrounded by hundreds of people, yet we are alone together, two spirits suspended in a moment as pure and unique as a snowflake.

I feel so incredibly loved.

Later that evening, I try to describe the experience to my husband, but I bumble over the words. He doesn’t get it.

It’s ok.

I know that whenever I want to, I can open a secret drawer in my mind to turn over this memory, which never fails to light me up inside all over again.

Merry Christmas. Image

2 responses to “A Christmas Memory

  1. jgroeber says:

    I don’t remember a single thing from this time in my kids’ lives (although I do remember the King of Prussia mall quite well, how sad is that?!) So glad you shared this with us and now can someday share it with Pooh (and she can share it with her daughter and so on…) You made my morning!


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