The last few weeks, I’ve struggled tremendously to sleep. There is no obvious reason I can identify, but I think some of that sleep deprivation is stemming from the reality that I am not making time to write anymore. I don’t write on my blog like I used to and I haven’t been making time to write for fun either. There’s always something that seems more urgent. I watch my sons fully take on their crafts, whether that is Sawyer with his art supplies or Liam with his football. They give their gifts their dedication and attention. They do things for fun, imperfectly, and because it brings them joy. I admire that, as it seems I only allow myself the luxury of writing when I have completed every single item on my never ending list. So, as Christmas draws closer, I’ve been working on a special gift for my young sons. Recently, they’ve been asking for me to tell them stories about childhood. I’ll ask.. a happy one or a sad one? The answer varies, but they hang on my every word. So, in a casual Word document, I’ve been writing out stories from my childhood. Did you know for about 15 bucks you can print them into a little book?
I’m going to repurpose these Christmas reflections in the little book, as I HOPE to give it to them on Christmas. (It may be Easter though, TBH)
The first Christmas I truly remember was spent in a hotel. There were so many people there, in that small room. My dad was dying of cancer, it was the true end. He died a few days later. I wish I knew more about my dad, he was a taboo topic I didn’t broach much as a kid. He died of Leukemia when I was three and a half. Occasionally, my great grandmother would share a fun story about him. Apparently, he was hilarious, this is something I heard over and over. I always wondered growing up if I was truly funny or if I was just trying to be funny to be more like him. When I was little, I didn’t really pray to God, I prayed to my dad. One very specific thing I remember about that Christmas was this set of army vehicles from k-mart. I really wanted them, and my mom was like “why, you’re a girl. this is a toy for boys?” and my dad bought them for me. Again, I was three so I could be really misremembering, but I always use this example when I think about parenting and life and love. My dad gave me a gift I wouldn’t recognize until much later, he showed me that can be even shorter than you expect. You know it’ll go by quickly, but he was only 27 years old. Deep in my heart, I have carried that painful life lesson with me and I can see how it shows up in my daily world. I love hard, I prioritize my relationships over sweeping up the dog fur. I try my best to see the world with my boys, show up in their photos, make every day special in some small way.
Christmas was always special for me as a kid, even if other days of the tree were not necessarily. I distinctly remember praying every year for a white Christmas. Three decades later, I have never one time, experienced the feeling of waking up on Christmas to white pillow snowy outside my door. One tradition I made for myself, watching Little House on the Prairie. I always loved Mr. Edmunds. What a blessing he was to those Ingalls girls. Last year, the boys and I read the Christmas treasury collection from Little House on the Prairie. It really inspired to assess our holidays and go back to keeping things simpler. Slower. Smaller.
I’m thankful for everyone growing up that played a small role in making my holiday seasons loving and special. As an adult, I hope I spread that same cheer and love and hope and encouragement within my family but my community as well. I try to channel Mr. Edmunds.