I've uttered that phrase at least a dozen times in the past few days, and while I am so looking forward to Parker's first Christmas, I can't help but think back to Christmases past.
Two years ago
After years of trying, I was finally pregnant. We saw a little bean flickering on the ultrasound screen, and we laughed and cried. I must have looked at the photo they gave us a dozen times that day.
A couple days later I started bleeding, but after an ER visit and a trip to our fertility specialist, we were assured the baby was still okay. I took it easy, and about a week later we had another appointment to follow up.
On Christmas Eve we were told the baby's heartbeat was only half the rate it should be, and there was a good chance it would stop beating all together.
I can still remember how my stomach dropped, as we sat in shock. The doctor was wearing a Santa hat. The nurse brought me tissues when I started to cry.
We clung to hope, but on New Year's Eve the heartbeat wasn't much stronger, and a week later we had our final ultrasound, confirming the heartbeat was gone.
One year ago
Full of fun and anticipation, people would say "next year you'll have a baby at Christmas!" I nodded and tried not to think, "but we should have one now."
Christmas was the day I finally stopped taking my morning sickness medicine, and I wondered if we really would have a baby next year - I still couldn't picture it.
I can't wait to see Parks' reaction as he rips into wrapping paper, and I'm already anticipating the struggle of trying to keep it out of his mouth. I'm excited to see his toothy grin in the Christmas pajamas we have for him, and wondering if maybe he'll be even closer to crawling by Christmas Day.
I'll also wonder if Cece would have had red hair like her brother seems to; it's tricky, because timing-wise we never would have had Cece and Parks - but I'll never stop wanting them both with me.
So I'll savor this first Christmas, and remember the others - knowing that she's in our hearts and I'm sure is getting as much of a kick out of her brother's shenanigans as we are.