Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Best Christmas Present Ever!

Ana Aragón
Twenty years ago today, I was given the best Christmas present ever when my daughter, Jennifer, was born. Before she came into our lives, Christmas was always about the holiday trappings--presents, parties, the perfect yard and tree decorations, the yearly Christmas card/letter to a hundred friends and family, and lots and lots of baking. I LOVED the merriment, the music, the shopping trips and all the hoopla leading up to Christmas morning.

But from the moment they laid my precious baby daughter in my arms, I knew that none of that could compare to the joy of having a newborn daughter you didn't expect come into your life at Christmas and change it in, oh, so many wonderful ways.

As a mother of two boys, I assumed when I got pregnant that I'd have another boy. God had played a joke on me by not giving me the daughter I had always expected I would have. After all, as the firstborn daughter of a firstborn daughter of a firstborn daughter, I had always expected I'd have...well...a daughter.  Poor Bryan had a beautiful peach and yellow room, complete with ruffled curtains; Mark had the pink bassinet. Fortunately neither of them suffered any ill effects from my expectations.

I loved my two boys and figured we were set. After all, I was a pretty good mom of boys and what would be wrong with having a third one (except for that one niggling thought that I'd also be the mother-in-law to three daughters-in-law.) This third boy who I named Scott Douglas had a plain brown crib and lots of hand-me-down clothes and toys waiting for him. He also had a mom who was a pro at all things boy--scrapes and stitches, trips to the emergency room, hockey sticks, football, jock straps and cups and, of course, everything baseball.

But then Jennifer Haley Doll arrived and what a difference! Where the boys screamed, Jennifer whimpered (the boys will say she whined). Instead of little boy suits with bow ties, Jennifer wore lots of lace and frills and a bow glued to the top of her head. She could mesmerize anyone with those smoky green eyes, that cupid bow mouth, and blonde curls framing her heart-shaped face. She wrapped us around her little finger and never let go. She's the princess of the family, and everyone knows it!

I'd like to say there weren't any scrapes or trips to the emergency room, but she was the only one to break not one, but both, wrists after falling from a 10-foot basketball goal. As a gymnast and cheerleader, she flew through the air with no regard for my pounding heart. She was every bit as athletic as the boys (probably because of them!) and gave us her share of nightmares.

But I'm happy to say that twenty years later--she's still the best Christmas present ever. Happy birthday, sweetheart!


For my readers--what is the best present you ever received and how did it change your life?


Nicki Salcedo said...

Best birthday present: A good night's sleep!

For the past few years, I've had to travel for work on my birthday. It wasn't fun being away from my little monsters. Last year, they took me for pancakes on my way to the airport and my kids said, "Happy Mother's Day" instead of "Happy Birthday!" They are little, what do they know. :) Best birthday gift anyway!

Ana Aragón said...


I hear you! Your little ones sound like they know mommy really, really loves them! I love to read your stories about them. Enjoy...I know it's trite, but these days pass so quickly.

Have a great day, my friend!


Ana Aragón said...

Off to work! I'll check in this afternoon when school lets out. I hope to read about your best present ever when I return!


Sandy Elzie said...

I totally understand about the daughter. Then my youngest thought she was having a boy (and so did her hubby) and when the pictures said definitely a girl, well, we all cheered. Yep, there's nothing like a baby, and I must admit there's nothing like a daughter. (they have the strongest little fingers and have the knack of wrapping everyone around them)

Best Christmas? When my son-in-law was able to get a week off and fly to Hawaii (one of several approved locations that would get him back to the war if they needed him in a hurry) and we flew, along with our daughter, and spent a week with him We sacrificed and left the cold to join him at the beach. (g) He was stationed on the DMZ between north and south Korea for a year.


Cyrano said...

What a great story and such a gorgeous present.
Your daughter is breathtaking, Ana.
I loved your description of her,"She could mesmerize anyone with those smoky green eyes, that cupid bow mouth, and blonde curls framing her heart-shaped face."
Your vivid description would have painted me a picture of her lovley face even without the photo.
What a handsome family you have, and the happiness and pride you've experienced with them through the years is obvious.
I'm happy to say the best Christmas gift I ever received was marriage. I married Dusty on December 27th 1993. Besides the two wonderful children he's given me, he's the best thing in my life. I love him dearly.
Thanks so much for the post, Ana.
I truly enjoyed getting a glimpse into your life.
Have a great morning,

Marilyn Baron said...

I loved your post and seeing pictures of your beautiful family.

It reminded me of my parents. My parents wanted a son and they kept trying. I was the first born daughter, then they had another girl, then another girl and tried again and finally got, a SON!
Of course he was the favorite. His name is Paul and our nickname for him was "Paul, Can Do No Wrong." No matter what he did he never got into trouble. When we told on him, my parents didn't believe us and they said, "Not my son!"

Anyway, we're glad we have him.

He was born on New Year's Eve.

Marilyn Baron

J Perry Stone said...

I had a girl-baby Christmas gift as well, Anna! We put her under the tree and took pictures of her staring up at the lights. For some reason she was so red, she fit right in with the Christmas color scheme.

Little bug.

Holy moly, your daughter is gorgeous. I'm sure that's the least interesting thing about her, but your husband must be very busy scaring off the boys, huh?

Maxine Davis said...


Beautiful family picture!! I know you must feel really blessed. And that daughter - absolutely gorgeous! In fact, all of you are beautiful. I loved reading about your family!

Cinthia Hamer said...

What a great story, Ana. I'm sure you redecorated that nursery in no time flat, too. LOL!

Neither of my girls were born near Christmas, so no misty-eyed memories there. But, twice, I've received Christmas gifts that not only brought a tear to my eye, but they caused a full-blown, red-face, snotty-nosed weep-fest.

The first was just a couple years after my father passed away. The Bride had found a picture of him wearing his grungy shirt, standing out in the front yard. It was so typically "Dad". She had it blown up and framed for me. I took one look at it and fell apart.

The second was just a few years ago. My sister, as the oldest, got custody of all the family photos. She'd taken a whole bunch of them, some over a hundred years old, copied them and put them in an album along with labels. She even included some letters my father wrote to his mother while he was in the Army during WWII.

Again, I fell apart. It was days before I could actually sit down with that album and look through it without turning into a watering pot. LOL!

Kristin said...

I so remember when Jenny was born! Love the old pics -- miss you all!
- Kristin Ribbe

EC Spurlock said...

What a gorgeous family!! Ana, you are truly blessed!

My DH and I were married on Christmas Eve. Nuff said.

Both of my boys were miracles. I got pregnant with my first very shortly after a serious illness, and the doctor was very worried that the medication lingering in my system might cause birth defects or brain damage. We were very lucky that he was born in perfect shape, and is now an AP honor student.

After that, I had three different doctors tell me I'd never have another child, and after five years of trying I was starting to believe it. Kevin was God thumbing his nose at medical diagnosis. The doctor was again worried about brain damage, considering I was pregnant at forty, but Kevin turned out just as smart as his brother, and infinitely more devious!

And we must have a thing for day-before-holiday occurrences, as Ian was born the day before St Patrick's Day and Kevin the day before Valentine's Day.

Dianna Love said...

That's such a sweet story about a Christmas baby, Ana.

My DH proposed to me right before Christmas and saying yes changed my life in the best way.

Sally Kilpatrick said...


Thanks for the reminder. I think my son was my best Christmas gift ever. I came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve that year.

I can remember a few other swell gifts even if they don't hold a candle to an 8 pounder: my bicycle and Day to Night Barbie, the shirt box full of paper products, the Al Wilson jersey, and the year my hubby got me grad school for a present. That was an awesome affirmation of faith in my ability as a writer.

It's funny how the majority of those gifts are a little nontraditional. Thanks for that reminder about the best gifts in life. : )


Susan May said...

My only daughter, Mary Beth 24 is the only girl amoung three boys and was born today also. She was my second. Having her has been an experience. She is so much like me we lock horns regularly. It is a little better now that she has gotten out of the high school years. She is quickly turning into a friend.

Ana Aragón said...


Wow, that Christmas present to Hawaii sounds pretty good right now, doesn't it? How wonderful that you got to spend the time as a family in a beautiful place.

Thanks for stopping by!


Ana Aragón said...

Hi, Tamara,

Thanks for stopping by and your kind words. I think that a wedding around Christmas is really special, because there isn't a "well, we'll wait until a less stressful time...heck no, let's get it done now!"

Sounds like the wedding "took"! Your husband sounds perfect for you!

Have a great week!


Ana Aragón said...


My parents were the same. Three girls before our brother, Larry, was born. He was the perfect son--played baseball and never did a lick of housework! But we loved him anyway!

Thanks for stopping by!


Ana Aragón said...

Hi, JP,

So you had a Christmas baby girl, too? There is something special about that, isn't there?

Jennifer is currently unattached...if you don't count all her friends! She's busy trying to be a young woman instead of a teenager (if you don't count her infatuation with Team Edward!)

Have a great week!


Ana Aragón said...

Hi, Maxine,

Thanks for stopping by and your kind words. We sure lucked out with the good-looking genes with our three kids--Mike and I are so different, we had no idea what our kids would look like!

Have a great week!


Ana Aragón said...


I loved your two Christmas presents. Isn't it strange that unconventional gifts are the ones we most remember? I can just imagine how wonderful it was to get photos of your dad and then your extended family.

Hope you have a great week!


Ana Aragón said...


Yes, your family was part of that celebration! I think your mom was just excited it wasn't her that was pregnant!

Jenn has certainly made our life so much richer and I thank God for all my kids!

Have a great week!


Ana Aragón said...


Whenever Jennifer says she is the "oops" baby, I remind her that all three of my kids were "oops" babies! None of them were planned because we thought I couldn't have children.

Sounds like you had some great holiday gifts, too!

Thanks for stopping by!


Ana Aragón said...


A proposal just before Christmas? What a wonderful gift! Especially since I know you have a wonderful marriage, too!

Thanks for stopping by...


Ana Aragón said...


Bringing home a baby on Christmas Eve must have been awesome! And your hubby giving you your grad school as a Christmas present--wow.

Here's hoping you have a great Christmas this year, too!


Ana Aragón said...


Happy Birthday to your Mary Beth, too! Jennifer and I have had our share of "disagreements" but I still have confidence that when I'm old and in a nursing home, she'll be the one that comes to wipe the slobber off my face!

Have a great week!


Tami Brothers said...

Great post!!! I agree with everyone. Your daughter is beautiful! What a touching story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.


Linsey Lanier said...

Lovely post, Ana. Beautiful pictures of your family and of Jennifer (yes, she is gorgeous). I'm glad you got your girl. Hope she has a wonderful birthday.

Like Tamara, I married my hubby in December, the 21st. We were young and had no idea what we were getting into, but it's been a great life and we enjoy looking back at our memories together.


Ana Aragón said...


Thanks for stopping by...I know how hard it is with school, kids and work...


Jennifer had a wonderful birthday out with friends, although she tells me that next year's birthday will be even better (hitting that magical 21 and all...) It must be great to be able to look back every Christmas and celebrate not only the holiday, but another year together. Christmas is my very favorite holiday and I always seem to remember things clearer from that time of year.

Thanks for stopping by!