[Published by Essential Baby Dec 16 2014]

I had a blog post ready to publish all about what I wanted to teach Harry about Christmas and how it’s not about material things. In light of the absolutely horrendous happenings in Sydney earlier this week, I’m even more steadfast in my determination to teach our little guy exactly what this time of year is about – holding each other close, being grateful for what we have and living life to the fullest (as we should do all year round). So, I’ve made some amendments to the original post in an effort to express how I’m feeling as a mum after what happened. I hope that this is taken in the spirit in which it’s meant.

This is what Christmas is about...

This is what Christmas is about...

Three children in Sydney will spend this Christmas without their mother. Before I was a mum, I would have found this event very sad and absolutely horrific, but I’m not sure it would have struck me quite as hard. But now that I know what it is to create a little human and be a family, now that I have a little one to hold close and now that I’m so unbelievably scared for all of our mortality, I am sick to my stomach thinking of those three children. Three little faces who have had their worlds shattered and for whom the lead up to Christmas will never be the same.

I won’t go on, as if you’re anything like me you’re in tears already. But I guess what I’m trying to say is this makes us all very aware of how this could have been us. Most of us mums go for coffee everyday. Indeed, I used to get coffee in Martin Place all the time when I worked there. It could literally happen to anyone.

Now more than ever we need to hold our babes close. Enjoy every second. Put away the stress of everyday life and revel in their babyhood. I’m guilty of sometimes doing too much, stressing too much, packing too much into every day, not living in the moment enough, and not enjoying just a minute or two more of our little man Harry’s cuddles or playtime.

This world is random and crazy. We are surrounded by so much good but also elements of bad. While it might make us want to never let our babies out of our sight, at the same time we have to let them live their life to the fullest, as we do ours.

We can’t live in fear. This post is about Christmas and how at this time we should be celebrating life and grateful for what we have – our loved ones who we cherish fiercely.

If you’ve been following my blog posts, you’ll know I’ve had a fairly massive 18 months. My husband and I got engaged, we got pregnant, I gave birth, I quit my job, we got married and started MeOhMy. Phew.

Anyway, to say that this year has been expensive would be a massive understatement. It’s Harry’s first Christmas so, naturally, we want to spoil him. This just isn’t possible.

My husband and I were feeling guilty about the fact he’s ‘only’ got about 15 presents under the tree (when in reality those 15 are 99 per cent of all the presents under there!). But then it dawned on me – a) he’s too young to know the difference (and will be more interested in the wrapping paper and the food anyway) but b) MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY presents are NOT what Christmas is all about and not what I want Harry to teach Harry to focus on at this time of year.

I’ve been telling Harry all about Christmas. He’s only seven months so too young to understand, but with all the extra stuff and fuss in the house he knows something is up. On the change table I was chatting away as usual when I started talking about Christmas and what it meant.

For us, Christmas is now about family and being thankful for what we have. I am guilty of getting caught up in the spending madness of Christmas and wanting it all. If I could, I’d probably spend thousands. But it’s just not about that. The last ten years or so, Christmas has been about long awaited time off from work, spending time with family and friends (and last year my fiancée) and giving and receiving presents. I was always thankful for what I had, but not so aware of it. Now, with our son arriving earlier this year, Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning.

As I told Harry, it’s a time where we get to celebrate our family. Where we realise how lucky we are and be thankful for what we have. Where we’re grateful for our health and happiness, and where we thank others, show our appreciation and reflect on the year that was. Where we hold each other a little tighter and revel in our luck to have each other. And yes, there are presents and they’re the icing on the cake, but it’s much more about time with each other and enjoying the little things.

This is all very idealistic, yes, and I’m sure that as he gets older this will be harder and harder to reinforce. But, why not start his first Christmas with the best intentions and as we mean to go on.

This Christmas, our thoughts will be with the family who lost their cherished mother, while we cherish those that we hold dear – holding them just a little tighter, and loving them just a little fiercer.