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Christmas 2010

December 28, 2010 by Victoria Strong
The last few days have been really special...emotional. Seeing Gwendolyn fully embrace the excitement, the rituals, the stories that surround Christmas simply leaves us weak at the knees. We want nothing more than for our little girl to feel happy and included -- and she did in a big way.

We started the festivities on Christmas Eve morning with a full puppet/theater performance of Gwendolyn's favorite Christmas books by two super incredible teens and Gwendolyn was riveted! Thank you K and H for being so wonderful!When Gramma arrived we baked cookies, put in extra special love (and chocolate chips), and packaged them up for our local fire station...and, of course, for Santa. We then went on a late afternoon stroll to deliver the cookies to the fire department, meet our neighbors new darling baby boy, and look at the neighborhood lights. When we got home we sat by the Christmas tree and got Santa's special plate of goodies ready. Gwendolyn was very, very serious about writing Santa a note this year. She actually seemed a bit stressed over it (poor sweetie), but she helped craft a very nice letter wishing Santa safe travels and gently reminding him what a good girl she has been wink. It was just so darn adorable to see Gwendolyn soooo excited about everything, clinging to our every story about Christmas and believing every detail! (And she fell right to sleep after I told her that Santa wouldn't come if she was awake -- mean Mommy, but it worked smile).

When she woke up in the morning, she was beyond excited. Chatty, eyes big, ready to go! We walked down the stairs and she immediately noticed her stocking was not in its usual spot on the mantle. We sat by the fire to read Santa's note -- all the while her eyes were scanning, searching and taking everything in. And she was a very happy little girl when she spied her stocking filled to the brim and a big Nemo doll by its side. We spent the morning opening and playing with new toys, having a tea party with her new Olivia tea set, reading new books, trying on new clothes and squealing excitedly by fast and crazy unwrapping. And before nap time Gramma brought in her gift -- a lifesize mini horse! Yes, life size! Actually I think this new stuffed friend is bigger than the real life Little Star. And Gwendolyn was delighted!!! She has been loving riding on his back, petting him, and hearing his noises -- he gallops and neighs. (Gwendolyndid not like our name suggestions and did not want to be rushed, but decided the next day to name him "Sunshine," which I think is very Gwendolyn!)

Surprisingly Gwendolyn went down for her nap with ease -- unwrapping is a lot of work! And when she woke up we had an extra special treat....Santa came to visit!!! Her eyes were humongous as she heard him stomping up the stairs ho, ho, hoing and she was in utter disbelief when he walked into her bedroom with an extra little toy. She wasn't scared at all. In year's past, Santa has always figured out a way to visit (funny how that works). The first year we were in the hospital, the next year is here, and last year is here (although for some reason there isn't a picture of her with Santa). And each year, my heart fills and I just love seeing Gwendolyn get to have this special experience. (Big thank you to Uncle R for (uh-hem) calling in those connections. wink)

Seeing Gwendolyn smile all day long means more to me than anything. Seeing her laugh and feel special and be an excited three year old is beyond explanation.But, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that even in the midst of joy there is a pang of sadness. It comes with the season (it has for me every year if you read old posts here and here). The simple truth is we have far too many friends in the SMA world who no longer have their children in their arms. And as much as I try to stay in the moment, the many traditions of Christmas also make my mind...my heart...wander to thoughts of the future...thoughts of how many more will we get to have and how will we without our little girl. Thoughts that no parent should have to contemplate as they watch their child fall asleep after a big Christmas day. And so we hold on to every giggle, every smile, every moment and relish in our little girl's joy knowing we are very blessed.

Talk About It

What a wonderful experience!
Posted by Getty Owl on 2010-12-28 10:00:17
great post - it really lightened my day. G is amazing, she even reached out for Santa in that video - Nora wanted nothing to do with him in person but G wasn't scared a bit. You guys had such a good day. It's a bummer we have to wait a whole year to do it all again. The pic of G riding sunshine is too funny. How freaking cool is a giant horse. Please record some of sunshine’s sounds in a video.... I gotta hear it.
Posted by TJ on 2010-12-28 13:14:48
What a fantastic day for Miss G and the rest of you! And that Sunshine - wow! 'Lucy' PS - I'm way behind on everything 'online' but can't wait to read more about the new chair!
Posted by Helen on 2010-12-28 13:46:43
A very Merry Christmas Day indeed. Gwendolyn looks as if she is on cloud nine, which I suspect she is smile A great day for you all. Thank you so much for sharing your joyous Christmas Day. --Mari
Posted by Mari aka "Thorney" on 2010-12-28 17:32:40
thank you soooo much for letting us share this wonderful Christmas with all of you, and especially, Miss G. What a fabulous uncle....um, Santa!! And the pic of Gwendolyn and her Gramma made tears come to my eyes.... the incredible love of that moment - that whole day - transcends all else...
Posted by Sheri on 2010-12-28 18:22:28
Oh yay! How perfect!! And I LOVE the video!!! Good job on not being scared, G--Dakin would have been heading for the hills!! We also like the butterfly ornament! smile And Sunshine is beautiful!
Posted by Devon on 2010-12-28 20:00:09
What a beautiful Christmas update from the Strong Family. Gwendolyn's video of Santa's special visit brought me to tears....so precious and sweet. I am very happy Christmas was so special for such a special family. Hugs!
Posted by Tammy on 2010-12-28 23:10:29
Her very own horse to have at home all the time - Gwendolyn looks so happy riding Sunshine. Glad you all had such a great Christmas. Love to all of you
Posted by MT Grandma on 2010-12-29 05:06:23
What a beautiful day. beautiful family and most of all beautiful memories. Loved seeing all of your pictures and Miss G`s. love for Sunshine.
Posted by Carol on 2010-12-29 13:23:27

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