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It's beginning to feel a lot like…

December 15, 2009 by Bill Strong
Sunday was a great day. The rain let up so we bundled up and ventured out to the Christmas tree lot to pick out our tree. Gwendolyn was pretty confused at first and who could blame her -- all of a sudden we were inspecting and looking at countless pine trees trying to figure out which one would be perfect to bring home and put in our house. She kind of looked at us like we were crazy -- a tree in our house? We showed her this tree and that tree and let her touch them. She liked that and all of a sudden she was in full Christmas tree hunting spirit.

Gwendolyn took a nice long nap when we got home and so we waited to bring the tree in because we wanted her to see it coming through the door. We pumped the Christmas music and when she woke up we brought her down and got her all cozy on the couch right in front of the tree spot. I wrestled the tree through the door and she and Mommy thought that was pretty funny -- it always is I suppose.

Instead of jumping in and decorating the tree we put Gwendolyn on the floor where the strands of colored lights were laid out and we decorated Gwendolyn with the lights smile She thought it was so funny that we were wrapping the strands of lights around her and when we plugged them in and all of the colorful lights lit up she beamed from ear to ear -- literally. We probably turned them on and off and on and off and on and off ten times. It never got old!

Once we were ready to decorate the tree, we laid Gwendolyn right on the floor in front of the tree as close to it as possible and she was a very curious, involved decorating helper. She helped me put the lights on and she thought it was great that she got to hold the strand of colored lights each time I went around and around the tree. She also helped us with all of the ornaments and it was truly special showing her each ornament, telling her the history of the sentimental ones and the stories behind the silly ones. She was really taking it all in this year. When it was time for the star topper, we lifted Gwendolyn up to help us put on the finishing touch and she loved it. I have to say that the tree looks great.

It was such a great day. I can tell that Gwendolyn is "getting" Christmas a bit more this year and that is so much fun to see. To be honest, with the reality and challenges of SMA, I find that there is an indescribable tidal wave of emotion wrapped around the holiday season. Although we try our hardest to focus on the half full side of the glass, sometimes it's impossible to continue to overcome the glass' half emptiness -- the reality that each of these simple, precious memories could very well be our last together as a family. Admittedly, it's been a challenge for us to truly get ourselves into the Christmas spirit this year, but our fun Sunday Christmas tree hunting excursion, decorating the tree together, pumping those Christmas tunes, sharing those stories, laughing, crying, decorating Gwendolyn in Christmas lights, and seeing those looks of simple happiness and enjoyment on Gwendolyn's face -- as a family -- has definitely helped get us there. It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in the Strong house - a very special Christmas!

Gwendolyn chose to bring trusty Cookie Monster along

on the Christmas tree hunting excursion...

Forget the pictures guys, Gwendolyn is ready

to get this tree hunting excursion going!

Wait! I think Mommy may have found the one! Drum roll...

Gwendolyn's face says it all -- Yup, that's the one!

Cue the "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" music...

The G-Van is unstoppable! Gwendolyn thought putting

the tree on top of the car was pretty hilarious...

Forget the tree, let's decorate Gwendolyn smile

She loved when we plugged them in and they lit up all around her...

Gwendolyn directing lights and Christmas tree ornament placement

from her spot right in front of the tree... v>

Gwendolyn reaching, reaching, reaching to the

tippy-tip-top to put on the final star topper...

Such a fun, memorable day...

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