In most families, people start packing away the Christmas decorations on December 26th. But in my (Catholic) family, we keep them up for the entire twelve days of Christmas. It's all a celebration.
My (Catholic) family is also from Louisiana, so the day after Twelfth Night is heralded as the start of the Mardi Gras season! But it's also more widely known as Epiphany.
Epiphany marks the visit of the Magi to Bethelehem and celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the world. So quite fittingly, an "epiphany" is also the realization of a great truth.
Because of all this, it seems appropriate that Holden was born on Epiphany - January 6th. Now I'm not comparing him to Christ. I mean, can you imagine what kind of mother-in-law I'd make some day? But Holden has taught me so many great truths. Hollis may have made me a mother, but Holden taught me to enjoy it.
He was an easy baby, so different from Hollis. Quick to smile, to laugh, to walk, to run, to leap. He is fearless in a way I've never been. He is as different from me as a child could be, but I wouldn't change a thing about him. (Well, maybe I'd change his inability to aim into the toilet and I wish he loved Angry Birds a bit less.)
Holden doesn't walk into a room, he runs. He's an extrovert, stubborn (OK, maybe the stubborn part is familiar!), open hearted and full of love. He gives out at least 30 kisses a day.
He's a rough and tumble boy, but he also loves nothing more than to fold himself into my lap for a nice, long snuggle.
He loves Legos, Star Wars, my iPhone, and Angry Birds, but he also adores Care Bears and My Little Pony.
Holden won't conform, follow the pack or just "get along." He has to be his own little self. He even came up with his own name for me. Hollis calls out for Mommy, but when Holden sees me, he hollers out "Mama!" while hurtling across the room.
You can't possibly raise a child like Holden, flinging himself through life, and not learn some amazing things about living and loving with your whole heart. And these lessons have turned out to be some of the greatest truths of all.
Of course, being born on the first day of the Mardi Gras season has to count for something in my family! I predict a life full of raucous celebrations and love for my little epiphany, Holden.
Happy fifth birthday, my snuggle bug. Mama loves you.