First of all, Merry Christmas! We had a busy day visiting with family today. Jack was able (and more than willing) to unwrap presents this year. Last year, he pretty much slept through the holidays. He was excited to get a slide, a robot blanket, cars, a tricycle, and a wooden toy box made by my parents. My husband and I only got him a couple small things knowing he would be spoiled by everyone else. He’s become attached to a stuffed bear dressed as batman that my husband picked out. He enjoys chewing the bear’s snout. I think it helps relieve some of his teething (and boy are we teething!).
The present I have been working on for the past few months is a short adventure story in which he is the hero. I am currently finished writing the story, but I have been busy working on some illustrations to go along with it. The idea for the story came to me just after Jack was born. When I would sit in my gliding chair nursing him for hours, I would brainstorm little stories where he was the main character. I jotted down a brief outline, wrote a couple pages, then promptly forgot about the whole thing. It wasn’t until October that I picked it back up.
One of the ideas behind the story is that Jack becomes acquainted with people he will not be able to know in real life. Three of the characters that he befriends are based on three special people: my grandfather, my husband’s grandfather, and our dog Dusty. Both grandfathers had passed away the year before Jack was born. We had to put down our old yellow Labrador Dusty earlier this year before Jack was even crawling. I wish Jack could have known Dusty when he grew up. I imagine them playing fetch together and being best friends. In my story, Jack is six years old and has his dog Dusty by his side. On their adventure together, they meet many new friends, two of which are named after our grandfathers. Even though they are in animal form in the story, I tried to capture their personalities. I wish Jack had been able to meet them. By writing this story for Jack, he will get to know them in the book and become familiar with them in a way that he could not before.
During this time of year, when families gather to laugh, sing, and exchange sentimental memories, I give to my son the gift of a bigger family that he did not meet, but still can know. Merry Christmas everyone!