Holiday Magic

12.23.09 All it takes is a little kindness, a little coziness and a little tradition


Sitting at a café table with a large steaming cup of coffee in front of her and a baby in her lap, a tired looking young woman was reading The No-Cry Nap Solution. A stranger standing in line waiting for her own cup of coffee leaned in to coo and catch the baby’s eye. The young mother stopped her before she spoke to the baby and said in a voice just this side of begging, “Please don’t. My baby will cry if you talk to her. She’s just not into strangers.” The woman in line pulled back and smiled at the mom kindly. “No problem, honey. Whatever it takes. It’s good you know what’s best for your daughter. I had a shy one too.” “Thanks,” the young mother said, gratefully.

Such a simple snapshot moment that said so much: A tired mom looking for solutions to a sleepless, sensitive child; a well-meaning admirer with enough wisdom not to take it seriously that her attention was unwanted. And a baby oblivious to it all who didn’t know how lucky she was to have a mother who’d go toe-to-toe to protect her from the kindness of strangers. It could have gone so differently. If the mom hadn’t stopped the woman, her peaceful afternoon with a book and a cup could have turned into a meltdown (for both mom and baby). The woman in line could have chosen to be offended and made a scene. Instead, the stranger offered kindness and sympathy and the young mother felt understood. I credit the wisdom of motherhood and the magic of the season for that sweet, graceful moment.

They’re everywhere if you take the time to see them. It really doesn’t take much to turn a moment into a gift.

My niece had a baby two weeks ago and is drenched in sleep deprivation. It’s her second child though and she’s comparing this baby, willing to sleep for four-hour stretches at night, with her first who couldn’t make it through an hour-and-a-half for the first year. Four hours is good and she has enough wisdom and experience to know it. Her three-year-old boy is a sensitive, brilliant little guy with oodles of energy. He snuggled into bed with his parents and new baby brother and told his mother he loved the “warm and cozy” and wanted to stay in bed with them all day. What a sweet gift, to know how good a snuggle is and not want anything else. When all you want for Christmas is a good night’s sleep “warm and cozy” offers up it’s own little bit of magic.

First Christmases or Hanukahs with new babies or babies on the way offer gifts you won’t fully appreciate for many years – the gifts of tradition. You’ll do things now that you’re parents that your own parents have done for decades. You’ll stay up with the reindeer on Christmas Eve to put together a tricycle. You’ll become Santa. Then, you’ll get up before dawn to see the magic of Christmas morning through the eyes of your children and as sleep-deprived as you’ll be, you’ll love it. The torch is passed. Go light your candles and enjoy the warmth. Happy Holidays.

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to and it may be answered in a future blog post.

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