It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, going from Starbucks and stilettos to Sippy cups and strollers can take a hit on anyone’s ego. Okay, I’m more of a kitten heel kind of girl, but I haven’t seen a pair of those since that plus sign appeared more than five years ago.
Along with my job and my wardrobe, my life changed when we started our family. So, it’s not surprising that my emotions followed suit.
The other day while my daughter and I were trimming the tree, I got choked up listening to ‘Feliz Navidad.’ If you’ve heard it, you know it’s a cheerful tune. Why get emotional over this song? Well, it started when my daughter was two.
I’m toting around the cutest tot on the planet, but I look like one hot mess. I’d heard that’s what happens when you have kids, but vowed never to go more than two days without a shower and to never, I mean never ever, resort to a three-day ponytail and stretchy pants. Yet, there I was hair pulled back rockin’ the loungewear wondering if I’d ever shave again.
We’d been listening to holiday tunes on every media device we could since the day after Thanksgiving and ‘Feliz Navidad’ was playing.
All of a sudden my daughter squeals, “Mommy Hot!”
Not sure whether she said what I think she said, I ask her, “What’s that honey?”
And this adorable kid, bouncing around beams at me, “Mommy Hot is on.”
I know my daughter misunderstood the words and changed ‘Navi-dad’ to ‘Mommy Hot.’ I also know that to her, hot is a temperature, not a word describing one’s appearance, but I feel complimented all the same. Not since being relegated to the easy on, easy off driving moc category had I felt anywhere close to ‘hot.’ Thinking of myself as ‘Mommy Hot’ made me feel good on a day that I really needed to feel good. So I turned the music up and sang along.
It was the cutest thing, every time we heard the song she’d get excited and I’d get a confidence boost just hearing her say, “Mommy Hot.” I loved it. I clung to the moments as long as I could and figured she’d soon forget all about our special version.
Fast-forward two years. We’re in the thick of it with two kids – an independent wants-to-do-everything herself 4-year-old girl and a teething makes-his-own-schedule baby boy. I’m stuck in some kind of post-baby reconstruction phase and all I want for Christmas is eight consecutive hours of sleep. But, it’s the holiday season, one of my favorite times of the year, and darn it, sleep or not, the hall decking must go on!
We had our favorite holiday classics from Ella to Elvis on while we trimmed the tree. I heard a guitar intro and then a chorus of, “Feliz Navidad.” My girl did a “twirl-jump” as she likes to call them and shouted, “Feliz Mommy Hot!”
So focused on getting the umpteenth box of decorations emptied and out of the way, I almost missed it. I stopped and stared at my daughter. Her red dress twirled as she sang, “Feliz Mommy Hot.” She was two again and I wondered when did she get so big?
This peppy song is playing, our daughter’s dancing and I’m devastated that my baby girl is not a baby anymore. Such emotion is expected when something holds such great meaning. I just never thought it would be ‘Feliz Navidad’ that brought on the waterworks.
The scene reminded me of how desperately impossible parenthood is at times. Struggling to keep your identity, and sanity, while pouring every bit of goodness, confidence and smarts you can into your children. Sure, it’s wonderful to see them grow, but bittersweet that many precious moments are over so quickly, like snowflakes melting on your skin.
I stop thinking about how much has changed and focus solely on this moment, for I know it will pass just as quickly. I hit rewind and grasp my daughter’s hands. Then I grab our son and we all dance together for a while. When it's over, I squeeze them and tell them how much I love them. So, to José, Celine and the many artists who’ve covered this song I say, “Thank you, and Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart.”