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Ginny Wray: From the Newsroom
Cherish this time of year
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Merry Christmas! And what a Christmas it is, your first as a dad. This is a glorious time.
Since Addison Grace was born 61/2 months ago, she has filled your lives with joy. You and Kristen have been devoted, unflappable and smart. Those are good traits for great parents.
I certainly am no expert on parenting — I am convinced you turned out well through the grace of God, a lot of help (thanks, especially, to the great guys who took you under their wings on the golf course at Forest Park Country Club!) and your own strong will. Now, I look back on your first year and remember it so differently from what you are experiencing.
I was terrified when you were born. I could put out a newspaper, but I did not know anything about babies. Being pregnant was fine. But suddenly there was this creature who ate, pooped, slept and cried. You slept through the first two weeks of life when I had lots of help in the house. The day my parents and others left, you woke up. It seemed like you never slept again.
Addison, bless her, slept through the night early and often. How lucky you are. You might not have been an only child if you had done that.
Then there is the food. We have really enjoyed the photos Kristen sends of each new food Addison tries, and we delight in her reactions. She obviously savored each new taste — until she got to peas. Then, there was no doubt that this little girl HATED peas. It is amazing that someone so little can make her feelings so well known.
When you were an infant I, like Kristen, carefully tested each new food, making sure there were no allergic reactions. I was careful about sugar and salt and fat and all those hidden evils because I wanted you to grow up healthy, slim and strong. Then I discovered your babysitter was taking you to Hardee’s for biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Of course, you loved it. Of course, my lofty ideals went down the drain.
But I learned a lesson — don’t sweat the small stuff. Actually, I don’t consider a good diet to be small stuff, but I realized that an occasional treat was OK, that it did not sentence you to a life of obesity and that I could not control your entire life. That probably was a good lesson to learn early on.
Then there were the endless conversations about whom the baby looked like. It happened with Addison: Does she have her mother’s eyes or her father’s ears? Will she have ankles, unlike some on one particular side of the family, or will she have the receding hairline that plagues another side?
Early on, I decided you were Michael. It was pretty obvious that you were not the clone of either your father or I. Quite the opposite. Sure, I see bits of others in you. But you are unique, as is Addison. Celebrate that.
I guess my main memory of your first year is how quickly you changed. You are seeing it with Addison. At the start, she was a sleepy little doll who just wanted to be cuddled. Gradually, she grew and her personality began to emerge. Physically, she is sitting up and being more expressive. I was startled when I saw a photo of her with a sippy cup. Is it possible that is here so soon, I thought. It won’t be long.
Just think, in another six months Addison will be walking, or close to it. Brace yourself. You will spend the rest of your life chasing her and in the end, it will have been the best race of your life.
Enjoy every minute of this year and those to come, Michael, for that is the joy of being a parent. You are a lucky guy — and Addison is a very lucky little girl. She is loved. Merry Christmas.
(“Mom” is Bulletin Editor Ginny Wray. She and her husband, Mike Wray, have one son, Michael, who lives in Charlottesville with his wife and daughter. Wray has published a Christmas letter to him in the Bulletin for the past 24 years.)