I looked around my house last night, cuddled in the rocking chair with my sweet girl.
The fireplace, with Snowflake hanging from the mantle, along with a garland that "he" hung after I lamented my un-decorated mantle. A mantle filled with pictures and Christmas cards from friends and family. Stockings hung on the grate. A set of cozy chairs beside it.
On the other side of me, in our foyer,
my our enormous Christmas tree. The memory warm in my mind of the day we went to get it, of bringing it in and stringing it with lights. So many lights. So many, that even though we have lost a couple of strands, no one would notice. A variety of ornaments: so many penguins, snowmen, santas, special ornaments from my childhood, of our early years as a couple, our daughter's first ornament, a collection of shoes (heels, boots, crocs, sneakers), and so many more. We have added ornaments almost daily to the tree (I've saved some to add, we've bought some, had an ornament swap, my husband brings them home from work, etc.). We just added candy canes. A huge bow on top. Presents stacked around the foyer, in a way to help them avoid the cats and their attempts to become one with the tree.
The point is that I looked around. I realized that this life, this den, this Christmas, is better than the fantasies I've had. Better than what I imagined ten years ago, when I thought about Christmases to come with a child not yet with us. Better than last week, when I wasn't going to decorate the mantle at all. Better than when I was a little girl dreaming.
The reality of it is better than I ever imagined.
My heart brims over with love and happiness, unexpected but welcome, oh so welcome, joy. The gifts this life has bestowed upon me are better than I ever dreamed, more precious than gold and diamonds. Better than a Norman Rockwell painting.