I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. It is probably no mystery to my readers that I adore the Christmas season. I take great pleasure in decorating my house, creating and receiving family holiday cards, and savoring the stillness of a dreary winter day serving as a backdrop to a beautiful illuminated Christmas tree. My heart was swelling out of my chest as I listened to my four year old discover the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.
It feels beyond cliché to admit that I feel, well, #blessed. I have a husband I love and adore and fought me over toy assembly. I have children to create magical memories with, and we had a beautiful dinner I prepared with my husband’s parents. I love to cook for people I love, especially now that I have my beautiful new farmhouse table. It wasn’t lost on me how truly blessed we are to have food to prepare and people to savor it with.
It was an uneventful Christmas wrapped in gratitude, reflection of 2016, and hot cocoa. My heart happiness is functioning at full capacity right now. The only words to adequately describe this Christmas season would be “my cup runneth over.”
I grew up, humbly, to say the least. My great grandmother always made the holidays special, no matter how much or how little we had. We put up our small Christmas tree on the end of her kitchen island, and exchanged 1 or 2 gifts. We sang Christmas carols, watched holiday movies, and received visitors from the church her husband was pastor of for over forty years. One of my favorite things to do with her was to get together with her siblings, all headed into their eighties, they still exchanged gifts and told stories of their childhood. It was always a special treat for me.
As an adult now, I don’t feel slighted I didn’t have 30 gifts waiting for each holiday. I had everything I needed and some of what I wanted. I was surrounded by love, just like I am this holiday season. The Christmas tree is a little bigger, but the family is just as sweet.
I’ve also had my share of disappointing and hurtful holiday seasons. I lost my father when I was two years old, his young life claimed by Leukemia. Though, I don’t remember it I know we spent much of that Christmas season at the hospital. He died on December 31. There would be many years as I got older that I would think, “if you hadn’t passed away- I wouldn’t hurt this way. I would be living the idyllic life I want for myself. I would have a mom and dad, presents, family, love, joy, and everything that makes people happy. ”
I have often said that it has been easier to lose my father so young. I have no significant memories of him, so in some ways I feel like I didn’t know him at all. As I’ve gotten older, that coping mechanism, has stopped working. In different seasons of my life, more hurtful seasons, I’ve wondered how my father’s presence could have prevented those hurts. How the brave, strong, wonderful man I’d created in my mind could save me. Often, Christmas was hard for me. It was a lonely occasion, even with my best friend grandmother by my side. I missed a part of myself I’d never known.
Friends, if any of you are aching this holiday, I am so sorry. Please email me or comment below so I can reach out to you. I know the pain of loss, loneliness, and sadness. It has taken time and healing, but my heart feels settled. I’ve allowed myself to stop feeling guilty about being happy and loved. I could feel it this Christmas, the best Christmas I’ve ever known.