Dear Baby, After Our Loss, Your First Christmas Means So Much More

To My Darling Baby Before Your First Christmas,

There were so many things I dreamed of doing with your sister. Taking her to the beach, singing to her, showing her what the color blue looks like. I also looked forward to her first Christmas. Hanging up her stocking, watching her watch the lights on the tree, including her in our family Christmas card. It breaks my heart that we will never get to do those things with her, because as I've already told you (not that you understand yet), we lost your sister while she was still in Mommy's belly.

The days after we said goodbye to her and every hope we had for her future were hazy and dark, and before I knew it, Christmas was upon us. As you can imagine, my love, the holiday season was very, very sad for me, your daddy, and your sisters. We wanted to make the holiday about honoring your angel sister, though, so we decorated a tree for her. But I didn't want any presents. And I couldn't wait for all the revelry to be over — the holiday parties, people wishing me a merry Christmas. I didn't feel merry. I just felt sad and hopeless. So hopeless that we couldn't even spend Christmas at home and had to go on a trip to spare ourselves some of the pain.

Then, by some miracle, you came into our lives. You, this beautiful, special spirit that lifted me up and gave me a reason to think things could get better. Now that you're in my arms, I find myself looking forward to Christmas again instead of dreading it. Even though I never thought I'd be in this place, I can't wait to hang up your stocking for the first time, see your reaction when the tree is lit up, and photograph you for the family holiday card. I can't wait to dress you up in Christmas pajamas, sing you holiday songs, and wrap too many gifts for you.

Sure, somebody will still be missing this Christmas. Your sister's absence will always be felt, at the holidays and all other times of the year. And yes, I might cry and feel sad and think about her when we're decorating the tree and opening gifts on Christmas morning. But I want you to know, my sweet baby, if you see Mommy smiling over in the corner of a holiday gathering, it's because of you. If you see Mommy laugh at a time I would have otherwise sobbed, like when we're unwrapping ornaments I wanted to show your sister, it's because you're here to see them.

Because of you, my child, this Christmas will be full of joy. Because of you, our family can reclaim the holiday as a celebratory time. Because of you, I want to decorate the house and go Christmas shopping and bake cookies. I want to hear Christmas songs on the radio and receive friends' holiday greetings. For all of this and more, I am forever grateful to you. You've lit up my world like a shining Christmas star. You are what the holiday season is all about: love, joy, acceptance, forgiveness, and peace.