It is Christmas week, and looking around the house, I am realizing just how much things have changed since last year – and how this moment is truly unique, and will never come again for our family.

The boys are growing, so fast that I can barely keep up. The other day, Brayden was standing next to me in the kitchen, and I noticed that his chin was nearly above the countertop! When did that happen? In my mind, he is still down at cupboard level!

Zackery is getting so much more mature, too. I want to share with you a little story from this Christmas season. Zackery’s school puts on a “Santa Land” each year. It’s a chance for the kids to shop for gifts on their own, in the lunchroom cafeteria, without their parents. Everything costs between $1 and $10, so parents just give their children a list of people to shop for and a little money. The older children act as elf helpers, but it is up to the younger kids to make good decisions and find gifts for the people in their lives.

This is Zackery’s third year visiting Santa Land. Every year, we tell him that he may not buy anything for himself – that’s not what this is about. Well, this year he bent the rules just a little. He came home with something that he really wanted, but he told us, “this is for Brayden and me to share.”

Of course, Will and I told Zackery that he would have to wrap the present and put it under the tree, to be opened on Christmas. He was a little disappointed that he couldn’t play with it right away, but in the end he wrapped it and wrote his name and his brother’s on it.

As a family, we have been working through an advent book with lessons and verses from Scripture. It happened that we had come to a lesson about the importance of giving, without needing to receive something in return. We talked with Zackery about what that means at Christmas time, reinforcing that it is not about what toys you’re going to get and when, but about how you make others feel loved.

It makes my heart sing to see this lesson sinking in. Zackery is starting to really think about other people more often, and to understand the give and take, the deeper happiness that comes from creating happiness in the people you care for.

I know these moments will pass away in the blink of an eye, to be replaced by new experiences and memories. I cannot wait to meet the men my boys will become. But at the same time, I wish I could hold them forever, here around the Christmas tree, two pure hearts that bring me endless joy.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas, and the love of your families and friends now and throughout the year.

With Love and Mommy Hugs,