A couple of years ago, after meeting Adam's mom, my friend Anne texted me "FYI, you totally hit the mother-in-law jackpot."
And she's right, of course. Leslie is one of those people that everyone describes as the nicest person they've ever met. She both sends and recommends great books to me on the regular. She has knitted all of us hats and other beautiful things. She is instantly beloved by every baby that lays its new eyes upon her. She is that kind of person.
I hit the mother-in-law jackpot, true, and along with it got a wonderful and inspiring friend in Leslie. But Kamal? Kamal hit the grandma jackpot. Those two, Kamal and his grandma, are a match made in heaven.
A few years ago Leslie knitted Kamal a Christmas stocking, and every year she sends along fun little presents for Kamal to fish out of what he calls his "magic sock." This year, Kamal pulled a hat hand-knitted by Grandma out of his stocking, exclaimed "It's a Santa hat!" and proceeded to never take it off again.
It has a pompom! And it stayed on for rocket launching,
hot-cocoa drinking (from another special stocking stuffer: this cup that used to belong to Kamal's great-grandpa, Harry),
thoughtful chats in the garden,
playing the game I call "only-child catch,"
and solving the world's economic challenges.
There are a lot of reasons I don't like Christmas. For years, Adam and I would more or less ignore the holiday, spending the day quietly and blissfully together. But now we have Kamal, and he loves it. Of all the wonderful gifts that we've received from Leslie and Steve, Adam's dad, one of the most precious is the way they've modeled for our own little family a way to experience this holiday in a way that allows Kamal to be joyful and engaged without getting wrapped up in hyperconsumerism or culturally projected expectations.
Kamal doesn't understand yet how lucky he is to have such a terrific set of grandparents. But I do, and I am grateful, deeply, on his behalf and on mine, too.