This year the holidays were successful, yet different. Very very different. Navigating the holiday season while missing a loved one is tricky and unpredictable. Will it ever be the same? I don’t think so. Will it ever get easier? I’m sure with time, it will. For now, everything just seems slightly out of place.
Christmas Eve Dinner
This year, instead of doing our big meal on Christmas Day, we decided that we would have our immediate family dinner on Christmas Eve. The thought behind this was that I could make dinner after we got off work at noon, and not have to do a whole lot on Christmas Day. This would allow me to actually enjoy the holiday and have some down time before heading back to work the next day.
Let me tell you, this worked out AMAZING!! We had enough time to go to the store before everything closed and still be able to get dinner going and done at a decent time without absolutely losing my mind. Papa went to church with some of the grandkids, and was home by 6:30 or so. Dinner was served at 7.
Since there were only six of us, we didn’t go “all out” per se. We had a HUGE ham (purposely for leftover meals), mashed potatoes, gravy, mac salad, corn, and peas. Also, since I am not drinking, I whipped up a tasty strawberry mocktail that I really enjoyed and shared with the kids. It was so simple to make, and definitely a favorite! I think I will have to keep it around. I poured it into my favorite wine glass, topped it with strawberries and sipped away. It made me so happy!!
Then we moved onto Christmas Eve boxes. I wasn’t able to get movies for them this year, because our priorities were elsewhere. Also, with good reasoning we figured they wouldn’t really get watched anyway since we have several streaming services. Everything was a success and all of their “jammies” fit. We had them all play a game together while we finished wrapping. Soon enough, everyone was in bed, we got all the presents under the tree, stockings stuffed and hung back up.
Would you believe that the kids let me stay in bed until 10am on Christmas morning!? I couldn’t even believe it. Khalub said that he was going to come down and start yelling obnoxiously, but decided he wanted his Christmas presents instead. Haha!
Remember my “moderately mini meltdown” while Christmas shopping? Well, I was still feeling very self conscious about the gifts I got. Even though I knew I got them mostly what they wanted, my teenagers and tween can be very picky. I thought for sure I was going to get looks of disappointment from all of them. I couldn’t have been more wrong! They were all completely blown away with their gifts, and loved all of them! In their words “We won Christmas this year!” Every single one of them shot up the stairs to try on their new clothes and pick out their outfit for the day. Which apparently was a challenge, because they couldn’t decide which new pieces of clothing they wanted to wear.
My heart was so filled with joy, I could hardly contain my excitement. Not only were the kids happy, Papa was happy as well. We got him a red and black (warm) flannel button up, and an Instapot to take back home. Bubs and I couldn’t fit it in our budget to get anything for each other but that’s okay! We were gifted with our family being together this year, and seeing all their smiling faces. Even Snowball got a stocking, some treats, and a VERY LARGE ham bone from our Christmas Eve dinner.
My Moments of Christmas Grief
I could tell I was emotional as is. Anxious, nervous, excited, happy. It wasn’t until I went downstairs to get ready for the day that it truly hit me. I caught a glimpse of the photos I keep next to my bed of my mom, and I broke down. I just sat there and cried. I tried to pull myself together when I went back up to the main floor to sit with the rest of the family. I couldn’t. I sat on the couch, and within minutes I was crying even more.
Earlier in the week Bubs had sent me a song to listen to. It was a sad song, but it was about exactly what I’m going through. Christmas when you’ve lost someone you love. He suggested that I listen to it then. I didn’t want to earlier because I didn’t want to cry. Since I was already crying, it was the perfect time! You know what? It made me feel a bit better. It was exactly what I needed at the moment.
One Last Christmas Gift from Mom
I also remembered that my dad brought some of my mom’s knick knacks from home for me to have. I figured now was a good time to go through them. One last Christmas gift from my mom. I went through the box of fragiles pulling the items out one by one. So. Many. Memories.
There were lots of crystal, glass, porcelain and ceramic collectibles and knick knacks. I kept the ones I always liked even as a young child, and I had Khalub pick one for himself to keep in his room.
The rest were packed into gift bags for my brother and his family. My brother and I decided not to gift each other anything this year since we were both somewhat strapped and our families are so big. This would be his gift. One last Christmas gift from Mom. When we went over for our Christmas visit, I gave it to them. As the fragiles were being pulled out of the gift bags, stories started flowing out as well. It was a good time.
I can’t say that the rest of the day was without tears. What I can say, is that this Christmas was full of just about every emotion I could think of. All except for anger. Not once was I angry or upset in a mad way. I don’t think any of us lost sight of what Christmas is actually about. I am so incredibly thankful that Papa was here to celebrate the holidays with us. It wasn’t the same as it used to be with Mom, but without Papa here it would have been so much harder. For him I imagine as well. I am thankful that, once again, I had bits of my mom with me everywhere. Especially in my heart.
Grief Is Misplaced Love
When we’re busy, running around and worrying about everything we have going on it’s easy to forget about our heavy hearts. It’s in those moments that we pause for just a second, when we catch our breath that our emotions catch up with us. Although our sadness seems to take over, I think it is important that we remember how incredibly blessed we were to have those special loved ones in our lives. How our lives were shaped and influenced by them.
Although we want to be sad that they are no longer here, we should be glad that they were with us for so many years. Celebrate the memories that we have with them in it. I know it is so much easier said than done though. I read once, that grief was love with no place to go. I can see how all of that love builds up like a snowball and suddenly burst.
I know that my mom would be very happy to see us all together. She would say that we were missing my sister Lisa, though. She would be right. That is a goal we will have to shoot for next year. Or to get her moved here when Papa moves here.
This holiday season is so emotionally unpredictable. Christmas will never be the same ever again. I hope it gets easier, but I don’t want to forget either. So for now, everything just seems so very out of place. Maybe I will take that misplaced love and place it in the direction of others this year.
For my readers, please know that I am okay. It was just a very emotional and hard day. Overall it was a great holiday, with a lot of great memories old and new. I hope you all had a really great holiday as well!
P.S. I am still not drinking alcohol. Only Mocktails, tea and water for this girl. Maybe the occasional soda.