I am so excited to meet Brand and see Lauren and just be in West Deptford. I keep telling Mike on the way that I still can’t believe I’m finally here. As soon as we pull up and get out of the car we hear Lauren and Brand knocking on the window and waving to us. There he is! I hurry to the front door and feel like I don’t even look at Lauren because I’m staring at this little baby. I’ve seen a million pictures and even Skyped with him once but seeing him in person is so different. He’s so little! And wide-eyed. Just the biggest eyes I’ve ever seen. The dogs are hysterical and jumping all over me and Mike. Brand is completely unphased – guess he’s used to them by now.
I give hugs to Lauren and Sean and drop all my stuff in the living room. Wow, it’s baby-fied. Just baby stuff everywhere. Weird. “Do you want to hold him?” Um yes! Even though I’m nervous. I don’t even know how to take him from her. She kind of places him into my cradled arms and I immediately think I’m going to break him. I can’t get over how little he is.
He’s not making any noise. Just kind of staring around. As soon as he makes a noise that even sounds like he’s upset I’m handing him back to Lauren. I don’t want to be the reason he starts crying! Lauren makes us some coffee and we chat for a minute before heading to the back room to wrap presents. We have to be quick because we’re having breakfast with the Manfres at 8am. I don’t think I’m a very good multi-tasker. I want to talk to Lauren but every time I do I completely stop what I’m doing. Mike is trying to move things along. “Can I help?” OK, yes, I give him a couple presents to wrap. I’m halfway done my coffee when Laur is asking us if we want mimosas. Um, yes, obviously, merry Christmas.
Once we’re finished wrapping everything we head back to the kitchen to continue drinking and talking. I freak out a little when I see a helicopter flying in the middle of the room. Sean’s playing with his new gift. It doesn’t matter how old they are: boys will always like toys. Brand is already napping. I figure he’s in his bedroom but no, he’s in his little rocker thing smack dab in the middle of the living room passed out. He sure can sleep through some noise. Lauren has him wrapped up in this little swaddler thing and he just looks too precious. “Do you want to get a picture with him?” Well yea, but you don’t have to wake him up. “It’s fine.” So she does. It doesn’t seem to bother him at all, except that he does look a little sleepy! We get a few pictures and we’re on our way. Am I forgetting anything? “Well it’s you, so probably.” Yea, you’re right. Oh well. Merry Christmas and I’ll see you tomorrow.
As we’re driving to John and Mandy’s I realize I left two of Mike’s presents at Lauren’s. Of course. Mike and I can barely get through the front door at John and Mandy’s – it’s a full house this morning. Mr., Mrs., John, Mandy, Maria, and Jack are all in the front room. There are cousins and siblings and relatives I don’t know scattered throughout the house. It’s loud an chaotic as presents are being unwrapped and people talk over each other. I give hugs to Mike’s parents and head straight for Jack. Mrs. is quick to hand him off. “Oh you haven’t met Jack yet! Do you want to hold him?” I do. I sit on the arm of the couch and he’s placed into my arms. I sit him on my knee and I don’t think he even sees me. There’s way too much going on in this room for him to be concerned with who’s holding him. My God, he’s big. He’s only a month older than Brand but he’s a lot bigger. I’m much less scared to hold him. Another quiet, wide-eyed baby taking in everything around him. Jack is too much of a hot commodity in this room. I don’t hold him for long before someone else has their hands on him.
Mr. and Mrs. hand me a card with a Kohl’s gift card and scratch off lottery tickets (they shouldn’t have gotten me anything because they already paid for our plane tickets home in April for Doug and Heather’s wedding). I hand Maria a gift. I’ve never gotten her anything before but I just felt like I should this year. Oddly enough she hands me one too, so I guess we were on the same page! She says something about breakfast and I remember I’m starving. Turns out they were not waiting on us, thankfully. There is still a lot of cooking going on in the kitchen. We finally just sit and hang out talking, mostly about how hungry we all are.
I finally decide to shower first since breakfast still isn’t ready. Maria scares me talking about those stupid spricket things everyone talks about around here because I’m going to shower in the basement. I make Mike come down with me while I get ready and we exchange presents down there. Once I dress and dry my hair we head back upstairs and breakfast is ready! Thank the Lord. Bagels and eggs and sausage and potatoes. Delish.
I told Mom I’d call her when I woke up, so I wait until 11 because there’s no way I’d wake up earlier than 8 on the west coast. I go outside, nervous, and call Christine because Mom never gets service in the house. Merry Christmas! “Merry Christmas!” When do you guys want to Skype? “We had a late start, so we’re just opening presents now.” OK, well call me or text me when you’re ready.” Ugh, back inside for more waiting. I can’t believe how nervous and excited I am. Again, I have that feeling of never feeling like I’m going to be home. Like this surprise is never going to happen. I sit on the couch and anxiously wait for Christine to call me back.
An hour goes by and she still hasn’t called. I can’t handle this waiting anymore! I text her. You guys almost ready? “What’s your Skype name?” I give her Mike’s or I think I do…my phone is being stupid and I apparently have no service now. OK Mike, time to go. We say quick goodbyes and rush out to the car. I frantically shut my phone off and turn it back on in the hopes it will start working again. It finally clicks on and I see she text me again. “We’re ready when you are.”
At this point we are parked in the Heritages parking lot next door to the house, blocked by Dad’s Herr’s truck. I text her back. Lol, K, Mike is trying to sign on now. We jump out of the car, grab our bag of presents, and we’re ready to go.