Love, Your Christmas Baby
It is December 28, 2001.
For the past month, Grandpa’s record player has been dedicated
Almost exclusively to Nat King Cole’s Christmas album.
It has been 28 days of “The Christmas Song,” “Joy to the World,” and “O Holy Night”
But today your home rests in an unusual state of quiet.
Scraps of wrapping paper and tinsel decorate the floor.
The hardwoods feel the absence of three jovial children and one fluffy, four-legged angel.
Today, they’re down the street at Aunt Jen’s house,
Patiently waiting for the arrival of their newest family member.
Mary is ecstatic and unaware that she will be my second mother,
Katie tenderly welcomes yet another squishy-faced baby into her life,
Chris prays that I’m a boy and drops the phone dramatically
when you call to tell him that he has a third sister.
Luckily his disappointment is short-lived
And when they meet me for the first time, he becomes increasingly concerned about me,
Specifically, the “cuts” and “acne” on my face.
Newsflash, Christopher: I just exited a womb; my skin is doing its best.
Mom, despite having just given birth to your fourth child,
You let everyone pile into your hospital bed
And swaddle me in a soft purple blanket.
Dad, you’re behind the video camera,
Capturing the welcome of a very lucky Christmas baby.
The Goddess of Love donned a velvet crimson dress softer than rose petals. She strolled along the city’s cobblestone walkway as the water sent an autumn chill to brush against her skin. Lifting her gaze to the sky, the moon looked back at her, revealing only a sliver of its full, plump figure. She rolled her eyes at its secrecy and relished in the few stars dwelling in between the clouds. The streetlamps highlighted her ethereal glow and drew the attention of the strangers who passed by her. Aphrodite rid herself of gawking men with the simple snap of her slender fingertips. She perched herself on the park bench closest to the silky midnight tides. From across the bay, she felt a thread forming between two lovers who were lounging together in a state of mellow bliss. Thinking of their home, her mood softened. They lived in a cozy cottage, tucked away from the obnoxious city lights. Inside, the two paramours reclined together on a well-loved emerald-green sofa with threadbare upholstery. Neither seemed to mind the condition of their furniture, or the paint that had smudged from her hands onto his cheek. Next to them was a half-finished portrait of him. She’d promised herself only a short break before returning to her work. But every time she got up, he urged her to come back. And every time she got up, she missed the feeling of his arms around her. So she gave in, and with their limbs intertwined, they fell asleep by the crackling hearth.
Through a curtainless bay window, the moonlight cascaded into our flat and illuminated your face with an ethereal shimmer. You asked me to paint you a picture of my future. So, with a grin teasing my lips, I told you to pose for a portrait. Rolling your eyes in feigned exasperation, you sat back on our flea market diamond, a shabby, chic, emerald sofa with threadbare upholstery. Although your face donned a crimson blush, your eyes remained unabashed. You were looking upon my own giddy expression with affection and something else. Something closer to admiration than infatuation. Something drifting past fondness and into a realm of inexplicable bliss. I brought my brush to the canvas, my hands shaking at the possibility of us being a dwindling flame. I worried we were teetering on the edge of forever and nevermind. But with each brushstroke, I began to gradually accept your devotion. Studying the intricate details beyond your silhouette, I confirmed that you weren’t just a mirage of my lifelong daydream. You weren’t merely a figment of my imagination, appearing out of the flickering candles and illuminated by the bright autumn moon. I reached out to touch the perfect little scars on your hands and watched fondly as your calloused palm pressed against my own. Our fingers came together like a lavender spindle intertwined with a sunflower blossom. Serene and calm, your lavender aura blended with my sunflower soul to melt away the prickers I manifested from my own anxiety. And even though I knew my thorns would grow back, that moment of reprieve meant everything. It meant that peace wasn’t a farfetched desire, but an inevitable part of my future with you. That wave of tranquil energy would find its way back to me in a rhythmic ebb and flow. So, I kept painting that picture of you, savoring the way your warm eyes shimmered in the autumn moon and candlelight.