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Merry Christmas

I’m taking a moment to send holiday cheer into the world. For my household, Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus’s birth and to also spend time with family, to let our loved ones know how much they mean to us, to be extra gracious and kind, and to just experience the joy of the season.

We started our day early. My 21-year old son, Caleb, who tries to play it cool with his emotions, woke us up from a deep sleep early in the morning. My husband, Bryan, later told me it was about 5:00 am. He asked if we were ready to open the gifts. We both shouted out, “No, a little later!” We knew he was excited, but we were too sleepy and soon dozed back to sleep.

When I was growing up, we opened Christmas gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve. Bryan’s family opened gifts in the morning, but sometimes they would open one gift at midnight. With our kids, we’ve mostly opened gifts first thing in the morning. I’m usually still wrapping gifts at midnight, but not this time. I had help. I asked my daughter, Elise, to wrap a few of her brother’s gifts. I had gift bags for some of the gifts and wrapped the rest. I completed my wrapping at about 8:00pm on Saturday.

Elise creatively wrapped her brother’s gifts to give him clues what they were.

I spent Christmas 2022 in my pajamas all day. My family is happy with their gifts so I’m happy. We tend to provide extra gifts to our kids since most of our families on both sides live in the Chicago, Illinois area. My heart is especially full because it’s the one time of year where I can get hugs from my kids. We’re not the most “physically expressive with our emotions” family. I’ve grown to be more of a hugger as I’ve gotten older, and as the universe would have it, my kids prefer otherwise.

Not only did Caleb gift me with a beautiful necklace, he reciprocated my hug, and told me he loved me. Elise also reciprocated my big suffocating hug. Perhaps other parents hear the “I love yous” and get hugs from their kids all the time. As my kids have gotten older, they do it much less, which makes it all the more special.

This is the first Christmas without my mother in law. I asked Bryan how he was doing and he said it’s been different. He’s been talking to his mom off and on today. He’s spent the past 2 days talking to family members. I can tell he had a great day. I’ve been communicating with family and friends through phone calls, texts, and social media. I enjoyed the connection, even if for a few minutes.

We’ve had some unusually cold weather in Texas for this time of year, so for the first time in a long time, we didn’t attend the church concert or Christmas Eve service. Thankfully, we didn’t have extreme weather like we did in February 2021, when the power went out and water stopped working for about a week for most people. Some people died which was heart breaking and incomprehensible, especially since I’ve experienced colder winters than that growing up in Chicago. I blogged about my experience in the posts Is This Texas? and Is This Texas Part Deux?

This time with the cold, we had no precipitation which makes it much more bearable. I can deal with cold, but it’s darn near life altering to deal with cold with rain, snow, or ice. It gets too dangerous to drive in the Texas terrain with drivers who do not know how to drive under those conditions. The temperatures were as low as the teens, but it has been steadily increasing. I enjoyed the nostalgia of having a colder Christmas week.

As I sit in my recliner couch typing and watching Bryan reclining on the other couch with his boozy beverage in hand, I can tell you, it’s been a SPLENDID day.

More than anything right now, I want more kindness, grace, and love for us all. It’s not cliché that life is so precious and short. One of my biggest light lessons for 2022 is instead of worrying about losses (such as in relationships, time, health, etc.), I’m paying more attention to the people who make room for me and who love me and the time and health I do have. If I don’t reach a goal as planned, I won’t stop living until the goal is achieved. I’ll continue living in the moment, appreciating where I am and knowing I’ll eventually achieve it. Sometimes, we get caught up in what’s missing rather than what’s here, right now in front of us.

With that, I say cheers to Christmas 2022 knowing that it can be an especially difficult time for many people for various reasons, including the loss of loved ones and loneliness. Give the gift of kindness, grace, and love to others and especially yourself this season and every day.

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