This date is memorable for many people for various reasons. Several days ago our kindergartner noticed that it’s a special day because she saw words printed on the calendar. She asked what is special about 7 this month.
Ahh, that may not be a tough question for most. Of course, the answer for many is “it’s Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” -at least that’s what the calendar says. One of my high school friends was born today, and has since passed away -so for her family, including her kiddos it’s probably a bittersweet day. But, for me it’s the anniversary of the day my mom died in 1986.
Having such a tough thing happen during the “holiday season” had lasting effects. When it happened I had no idea that for years, actually decades, I’d struggle to enjoy the Christmas celebrations that flow starting after Thanksgiving. Wherever I was in the world others were decorating, gifting, singing, celebrating and I was often just trying to hold it together, to be present without tears. It just wasn’t a celebration time.
But, thankfully one year I took time to deal with all that (I wrote about it here if you’re curious) and some amazing healing happened. I’m SO glad I did that hard work before I had a kiddo of my own. She’s growing up enjoying the beauty of the season, and that is so cool to watch.
We’re off to a slow start this year. A quickly planned trip to Indy followed by WordCamp US in Nashville got us back in town late on the 4th, so we have some more decorating to do. But, we’re taking our time, thought it’s tempting to knock it out alone while Morgan’s at work and Joanna’s at school, doing it together as a family is what makes it special. I love opening the box of ornaments and remembering together where they came from, or when we made them. We got to open 5 days of our Lego Friends Advent Calendar at once. That would have been cool, except our eager 6 year old had opened it and switched around the bags of Lego, which meant the pictures didn’t match the pieces on 4 of the first 5 days. So, I spent some time yesterday watching a video someone had posted of opening the whole thing and getting it straightened out. Yay for youtube!
This summer our LST mission trip took us to Natal Brazil. We had a great experience there, but I still get teary thinking about one night. We had dinner with some of the church members and Joanna really connected with one of the ladies. Marisa loved on Joanna, she giggled with her, gave her gifts, hugged her, planned shopping trips, and played together, they just really connected. As we left the restaurant to get in the car I walked behind the 2 of them and started bawling as I saw them holding hands and joyfully almost skipping along. They were having a blast. And, while I was so glad Joanna was experiencing that I was grieving that she doesn’t get that experience with my mom, that she isn’t here to be grandma, and that means my kiddo is missing out on some potentially really cool moments. So, yes, I am thankful that she does have special moments with great people, and she does have some chances to see Nana out in California, or when they visit, it’s just tough at times that she’s short one grandparent.
So, instead of dwelling on what are missing out on, I choose to celebrate! I ask Morgan to bring the tree down from the attic and the boxes of decorations in from the garage. We get out the Christmas coasters and special glasses. We move things off the mantle to set up a Nativity set (I love that this has become Joanna’s favorite part). We put the ornaments on our front yard tree that were placed by a mystery friend years ago. We’ll make some treats and share them with friends. I crochet ornaments to share, and help Joanna make some to share. We are using this special season to find ways to spread around a little joy, and I’m so glad for it.
I have some dear friends and family members who have lost loved ones this year and are facing their first holiday season without a parent or other family member. And, for them I’m hoping that in spite of the inevitable sadness that will come from that hole in the celebrations that they will be able to find some joy too and will be able to remember the special times with their loved ones.
We all know that tomorrow isn’t promised, and so I hope that today, and each day we’ll choose to do good and love one another well, as that can make such a huge difference.
As I mentioned, we’re a bit behind this year, but here’s a start to our home decorations: