A cold chill shot through Jenna as she emerged from a deep sleep. She pulled the covers in closer to her, rolling over to check the clock on the bedside table. Somehow it was before 6:00 and she hadn’t been woken all night by cries for a diaper change or a feeding. For the first time in months, she felt rested despite the early hour.
She could probably go back to sleep for a little longer if she wanted.
Except she had a sleeping infant in the crib on the other side of the room who would probably be bursting into tears any minute. So, braving the cold, she kicked off her covers and wished she had a pair of socks as she tiptoed across the hardwood floor.
Lulu was awake and kicking around when Jenna made it over to her. She cooed and began to wave her little arms at the sight of her mother.
Jenna grinned as she reached in to pick up the little one. If anyone had told her that the pregnancy she thought was a punishment would lead to this tiny light of her life, she would've refused to believe them. Yet here she was, holding the most precious person in her life and cooing right back at her as she gently rocked her.
“I can’t believe you slept all night, little girl,” she murmured as she felt the infant’s diaper and carried her over to her changing station.
After a change and a fresh onesie--the festive striped green, red, and white one with Rudolph on it that Becky had picked out--Jenna set out to feed her. However, as she carried Lulu to the rocking chair, she remembered the forecast for a rare Christmas snow and found herself needing to check.
If it did snow, it would be the first snow of the year, and Lulu’s first snow ever on her first Christmas. And while not everyone put stock in firsts like this, she could still recall winters when her mama was still alive. Every first snow, they would get out together and build a snowman. If there wasn’t enough snow for one, or even snow angels or sledding, they would take a walk. Then they would come home, bake pie, and drink cocoa.
Lulu, of course, was too little for those things. She wouldn’t even remember seeing the snow until she was older. However, getting to share the first snow with her, especially on Christmas, was a moment she would happily take after months of sleepless nights and other more pressing struggles.
With anticipation, she shuffled over to the window, and pulled up the blinds.
Outside everything was covered in a sheet of white, and flakes were still pouring. Even in the dim twilight of early morning, it was bright. Lulu stared out, eyes glowing and wide at the brand new sight.
Jenna gasped as Lulu let out an oohhh . “What is that??” she asked with exaggerated enthusiasm and continued to whisper to her about the snow.
With a giggle at her daughter’s wonder, she stared out the window, watching the snow fall. She pictured her and Lulu, when she was older, trekking out to the field behind the apartment complex and building a snowman. She pictured them building forts and chasing each other with snowballs. She pictured walking Lulu down to the bus, catching snowflakes on their tongues like she and her mama used to do. Then she pictured the two of them coming in to warm up, putting on their softest PJs and drinking apple cider or cocoa.
She pictured Christmas mornings like this, except Lulu was big enough to come bounding into the bedroom to wake her up to open presents. She thought of baking Christmas cookies and stuffing stockings and making ornaments for all the pie shop crew.
Then she thought of how, in a matter of hours, she and her little girl would be surrounded by dear friends--no, family--who loved them. How everyone would pass Lulu around and play with her, and she would soak up all of the attention as she usually did. Dawn would try to be affectionate while Ogie would make funny faces. Becky would yell at them for being baby-hogs and then finally get her, gossiping to the six-month-old about how she should trust her Aunt Becky more than “those nerds” before blowing raspberries on her tummy to make her laugh.
It was the first Christmas in years she was looking forward to. She would enjoy every minute of it.
Just then, Lulu became fussy. The infant squirmed in Jenna’s arms and got that pouty look on her face she always did when she was about to cry. Jenna gently bounced her and took a seat in the rocking chair in the corner, opening her pajama top and letting her feed. Appeased, Lulu had her fill, and Jenna reached over for a basket on the floor next to the chair where small blankets sat. She picked one up and wrapped it around the baby, pulling her closer to her chest and leaning back, just rocking.
Jenna could count on her fingers the number of Christmas presents she’d received since her mama passed. But this? This was the greatest gift she could have asked for.