Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

This Christmas wasn't what it was suppose to be at the very beginning of the month.

But it ended up being the Christmas we have dreaded ever since my Dad was declared terminal.

Our 1st Christmas without him.

A little history about us:  I love Christmas. Like LOOOOOOVE Christmas. So did my Dad. I remember when I was younger Dad would put up Christmas lights that would compete with Clark Griswold. Anything that would hold still got lights.  He loved it all, and most of all, he loved being Santa. To us. To anyone. He loved surprising people and making them smile.

And Grandmother died December 10th, 1988. I was 8 years old. And just like that, my Dad's Christmas light went off. It may have flickered on a few times, but it was never quite the same.

So...25 years later...exactly a week before the day my Grandmother Dad left us.  I'm afraid I will feel this way about Christmas forever, and that he's passed on the "curse" to me.

I don't want to NOT love Christmas. 

But this Christmas was hard. And exhausting. (This is the best word I can use to describe grief. Pure EXHAUSTION!!) And the entire goal of this season was to just make it though. I saw a quote on Pinterest that summed it up perfectly.  "It's like Christmas lights.  One single bulb goes out keeps the rest from lighting."

At times I would just panic as I saw the countdown grow closer and closer. I told Danny one day it was was like I had lost a week somewhere.  And then realized, we kind of did.
I remember sitting at the table Christmas Eve and just looking around. It LOOKED the same, but as Tristen said later: It felt like a whole bunch of people were missing.  It just felt weird. And wrong. And awkward.

Everything was just so strange. No phone calls to him first thing the morning to discuss what Santa had dropped off. No one asking if there would be cinnamon rolls made. No one saying "you better hurry up and get to bed...I heard  Santie Claus is getting close!"

We got through it. And I told myself to just let the holiday happen. If I got everything done like I normally did, super. If I didn't feel like making 100,000 batches of candy, I wasn't going to feel bad.  We ate off paper plates..WITH SNOWFLAKES!..instead of the pretty china plates...I didn't make any candy. No Christmas cookies. Most of my gifts were shoved in gift bags instead of made up pretty packages.

Christmas isn't really about any of those things, is it?

And that's what I told myself when that tiny bit of guilt or sadness started in...I didn't WANT NOR DID I have the energy to do any of those things ..therefore...I didn't NEED to do those things this year.

I did spend a lot of time on the couch curled up with my guys, watching old 80's movies. I spent some good sister time with my sister, and loved on her baby.  (Speaking of..several times I thought about our family, and what a surprise Jayden's arrival was for Michelle. certainly knew what he was doing when he sent that little boy to her. That little guy made my Dad hang on for just a few more precious weeks, and his little smile has gotten us through the hardest time of our lives. He has been passed around, loved on, cried and snotted on... Not too shabby for a brown eyed guy who can't even talk yet! What a blessing he is.)

 It's hard to be TOO sad when there is a Santa hiney bouncing around!!

"Hey! I think I'd like to try a milk shake! Tristen??... Hey, Tristen? Please?"  (BTW--look at my blonde haired kid's DARK hair!! Crazy!!

I didn't attend our favorite candlelight service, but I listened to Christmas songs that made me cry. I've cried a lot, and I've prayed even more.

We have offically survived the first Christmas without him. I know next year it will still be sad, and diffrent, and I'm told it may never be the same again. But my hope is that the sparkle will be back. Or at least some of it... Because I DO love Christmas.

Some of our highlights:

Sleeping until 8AM!!! This has NEVER happened before..we WOKE the KIDS up!!!

Jacob loves his new golf set and just needs the snow to disappear so he can try those puppies out!

Tristen got exactly what he asked for. Socks. Lots and lots of socks. He seriously asked for socks. Before anyone starts feeling sorry for the poor sock deprived kid, he had plenty of socks before.  The guy loves socks and having tons and tons of them just makes him happy. Socks for everyone!

Becky got a KITCHEN AID mixer from Santa, in a stunning shade of Santa RED! And a Duck Dynasty cookbook from her husband that made her scratch her head a little bit..That makes 4 DD books received as gifts this year at our house!  But I sure am enjoying looking around and seeing everyone laying around reading.

Interestingly enough, Danny's favorite gift is a meat grinder attachment he received for MY MIXER. Funny, huh??  Oh that Santa has a sense of humor...
For Christmas lunch we had peppered turkey breast..THANKS, FFA!...homemade mashed potatoes that my family declared THE BEST because of the new mixer. I explained while the MIXER MAY HAVE WHIPPED them better, I ADDED the INGREDIENTS TO the mixer..therefore I STILL get credit for the mashed potatoes =P, homemade rolls and cream cheese corn.

Something new I did this year for my DC kids was an Elf on the Shelf. We named him Mistletoe Max, and as funny as it sounds, I will forever be thankful for that creepy little Elf.  He made his grand entrance the morning  that my Dad passed away, so he sat on my table for over a week. BUT--he gave me something festive to focus on, and its really hard NOT be have some sort of Christmas spirit while watching eyes light up at spotting him or squeals of delight when he brought treats.  I had so much stinking fun with him!

He TP'ed our tree,

Hung out with us a little,

Got caught fishing in our fish tank,

And sent us a message about what the season was REALLY about!

We did have to work really hard at teaching my mom his name though.  My brother picked him up off the table and asked "WHAT is THIS?"  Mom replied "Oh, thats Becky's ELF, MAGIC MIKE."

I really thought I might wet my pants from laughing and BEGGED her to learn correct name before telling anyone about him.

I hope you and your family had a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! 

"It came without ribbons.  It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more."



Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Sounds like you found the love of Christmas in little ways and made some sweet memories. Merry Christmas!

Sara said...

OMG...Magic Mike, I thought I was going to wet my pants when I read that!! Too funny. I enjoyed Mistletoe Max on Facebook...Westynn would have loved this! Thought about you lots this past month and prayed just as much for you all to have comfort during what I can only imagine to be difficult. HUGS!!

Melanie said...

I hope that the loss of your dad right now won't ruin your Christmas spirit forever! Our Christmas was still hard for many of us this year too. .though we didn't openly discuss it, you could just tell!! Hang in there. .Make sure Jacob takes the boys to the course when he goes to try those new clubs out!! AND. .the meat grinder attachement for Kitchen Aid ROCKS!! Ham salad, beef salad yummy!! Enjoy that!