So I’m just going to admit it. I was a grinch this Christmas season and the weeks leading up to it. There was something about my 33rd birthday approaching this year that I just did… not… want… to… celebrate. And I wasn’t much wanting to celebrate Christmas either. Stephen had to beg me to pull out the tree and decorate because I just wasn’t in the mood this year. I was in a major funk about a lot of different things related to the Christmas season and my upcoming birthday, as well as dealing with disappointments to unanswered prayers and struggling to keep the faith during a season of joy celebrating the birth of our Savior.
I felt like the little kid in The Polar Express who couldn’t hear the bell ring anymore… I felt like I lost the magic of Christmas, and birthdays as well.
My mom was coming to Nashville to spend it with Stephen and I, and she gave me fair warning that she was bringing “magic” with her to help cheer me up. I of course rolled my daughter eyes in that “Ohhh mom” kind of way. But then she told me that on my birthday, I was instructed to wear my fanciest dress, so while I was feeling like a grump, I also knew, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to dress up.
We celebrated our normal Christmas morning opening presents, mostly watching my poodle child, Rhett, open the presents for us as he tore back each wrapping paper for us. While I know he’s a dog, I truly believe he is part human with all his funny antics and each day, he reminds me there is a piece of joy to laugh about.
Then it was off to get ready for the day and the surprises my mom couldn’t wait to begin. As I walked down the stairs in my favorite frilly Betsey Johnson dress and hot pink bow shoes, I heard the door bell ring. Who was joining us for Christmas, I wondered?
In walked Kate Davis, another Nashville photographer I hadn’t met yet. My mom hired her to document the entire day. So wait, Stephen and I don’t have to document it? I can take off my photographer hat and let someone else do the job? Cool. I admit, I was impressed my mom sneakily found another photographer and booked her. Kudos Mom.
Next I walked outside to see a limousine waiting in our driveway! I couldn’t help but laugh when I realized my mom was recreating my 4th grade birthday party. Back as a little girl, I had seen a movie where an average girl got transformed into a princess, and when my mom asked what kind of birthday party I wanted, I told her I wanted to be a princess for a day riding in a limo and picking up all my girlfriends along the way to go have my Debbie Gibson covered birthday cake at a fancy restaurant. And that we did.
Fast forward back to this Christmas Day, and here we were again, limo awaiting to whisk away for a day of magic and recreating birthday dreams. Again, kudos Mom, kudos.
The limo then whisked us away to my favorite hotel in Nashville called The Hermitage Hotel. Not only do I love the architecture and beauty of the historic hotel, it had special meaning to me because the very first time my family came to Nashville as tourists, this is where we stayed with my dad. I had a feeling deep down that this is where my mom was kidnapping me to… but… I didn’t want to ruin her surprise.
As we turned the corner and I saw the sign for the hotel, my heart fluttered. All the memories of our first trip to Nashville came flooding back to me and I felt bittersweet knowing we were back at this place where my dad once was, and that he wasn’t here to celebrate with us this day.
As we pulled up, I saw a bellman holding a big bouquet of pink flowers and I thought “Awww, how cool, someone is getting flowers today!” Then it hit me…. “Oh no….”
As I got out of the car, the bellman walked up and greeted me and told me he was holding 33 flowers and had a letter to read me on behalf of the hotel. As he read the letter, tears began to fill my eyes as he read “We are happy to present these flowers to you on behalf of your father, Johnny Williams.”
Oh Lord….. where was my tissue?
After drying my eyes, we were then escorted to a table waiting covered with rose petals and a big birthday cake. The cake was not covered in Debbie Gibson this time, but it was chocolate with whipped cream frosting just like I had always liked.
We had an amazing brunch with first class service, and after taking a few Christmas photos in front of their big gorgeous tree, we headed back home. But the day wasn’t over yet. We spent the rest of the night driving around Nashville looking at all the magical Christmas lights. I was sooo impressed how much people here in Nashville really put their heart and soul into bringing the magic of Christmas alive through the way they transform their homes into a colorful splendor of beauty and joy. Some of the houses we saw had over 200,000 lights covering every inch of their property.
There was one house we got out of the limo to walk through their lit up masterpiece, and I remember standing there taking it all in… no Christmas bells were ringing… but in my heart, I felt like they were again. I had felt bad for being such a grump in the weeks leading up Christmas day, because truly, I have so much to be thankful for. Mostly importantly, I have so much love in my life, and that’s the greatest gift of all.
So what if I’m turning 33? As Momma showed me that day, you are never too old experience the magic that each birthday brings. Thank you Momma for a beautiful day.
Leave me a comment and let me know, what was a little moment of magic YOU experienced on Christmas day, or at some point in this Christmas season?