It was a lovely Christmas. It was filled with friends who are like family and good food and matching pajamas. There were legos strewn all over and Calico Critters driving in camper vans. There was hot tea and flannel. And good times. Good stuff.
|Even Ferg loves to look at the tree.|
This time is magic.
I mean, it's not magic, but it is.
Everything is just so... easy.
The girls believe.
They adore Sparklepaint our Elf. During the first 24 days of December they looked forward to her daily antics and would run up the stairs first thing in the morning and say, "YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE WHAT SPARKLEPAINT DID LAST NIGHT."
They also really discovered and appreciated the Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers Christmas Album. [breathes a sigh of relief. Whew! Those kids are confirmed mine. I know Shirl was proud to hear all that sangin'.]
Then there was the fear. They were sort of... difficult... in the days before Christmas. The excitement and anticipation was impairing their judgement and I'm afraid to report that they lose their minds. (The days off of school probably didn't help the matter. Sisters. Always together. Not easy.) They were not behaving. I finally lost it, hit 'em where it hurt, and took away all of their shoes except for two pairs each.
You read that correctly.
I took away their shoes.
(They got to keep their stockings.)
I took my children's shoes from their closets and placed them in separate white garbage bags. They cried alligator tears, because... well... shoes. And then the next day? They earned back a pair after they improved their behavior. And the next day? Another pair. And so on...
They're learned that if Mama will take away the shoes, Mama will do anything.
Note: It's been fun watching their shoe selection. Lila's initial two pairs were her futbol (soccer) shoes and a pair of high heels. (Wedge sandals.) Vivi's were snow boots (?) and a pair of tennis shoes.
Snow boots? Cabo? Totally necessary.
So the days leading up, and Christmas Eve, and Christmas were all good.
I want to freeze this time. The girls' enthusiasm and excitement, while hard to harness, was infectious. There's joy at this time of year.
And amidst the wrapping, the rushing, the parties, the cookies, the crafting... I felt it.
And, I still feel it.
In the Christmases of the past, especially the first one that was just 3 months after my Mom died, I was a wreck. I was numb. I tried, I think? Maybe I didn't try? It was a fog. I relied so heavily on Craig to keep us afloat. But it was just so hard.
The next Christmas... was different. I really *did* try that year; and it was better. Not great, but better. And, somewhere along the way I realized that you must continue living for the living, no? The gap between the dead and the present hurts, but when you've got a little elf and sparkly, unicorn-wanting princess... you must keep going.
It's been four years since I celebrated a Christmas with my Mom in this world.
So much has changed in four years...
...especially these two.
The shadow of grief looms.
However, the joy and the beauty of this season; of being a Mom, of being a wife and a sister and friend, it casts a comforting light that warms my heart.
The darkness will always be there; the hole. But the ability to see the beauty and the joy and the promise that is Christmas... that's my gift this year.
Love that Shirl.