Tonight we left the boys at home and went to the ward Christmas party. We got there half an hour late because we were confused about when it started, and by that time most everyone had filled the first few tables and we kind of got left to sit at the end table mostly by ourselves. At first I was kind of bummed because I felt left out and annoyed that I hadn't been there earlier, but it was actually perfect because I got to spend that time focusing solely on Natalie. We giggled together after Natalie "accidentally" took a candy off of the gingerbread house display on our table and then felt chastised after a teenage girl came over and told us that her friend who made said gingerbread house saw us picking things off and she was mad about it, ha.
We went back for seconds when we realized we had missed the mac and cheese for round one, and then had fun picking out desserts to try together. Natalie held the utensils and our shared cup and I took care of our plates while we were in the food lines. It was fun having a system and working together with my little tagalong.
She floated around visiting different friends while I was playing the piano for some of the music portion after dinner, but she also came over to sit next to me at the piano a lot of the time, giving me updates on who she just talked to and who she was going to see next. I loved feeling her reach for my hand when we were walking. I loved watching her interact with other people and hearing her say, "I'm going to go find my mom now."
It was so fun watching her react to the announcement that Santa was at the party! She was all cute and shy when it was our turn to meet him, but she warmed up a little and told him she wanted a blue purse for Christmas and even stayed close enough for me to get a picture. It was so sweet that she truly felt like this was a magical moment for everyone, that Santa was actually there.
I love being your mom, Natalie. I loved sharing this night with you. I love that we tell secrets and make play-doh popsicles and share treats. I love that even though you are only 3 years old, I feel like we have been friends forever. I am grateful that I listened to my heart and came in for some extra cozies after you had already been in bed for a little while tonight, after all the festivities. I loved snuggling with you and kissing your rosy cheeks and having you ask me to stay a little longer.
I hope you always ask me to stay a little longer, and I hope that I always will.