And so it begins. I turn the calendar page and there it is, "DECEMBER" all in capital letters. I am not ready for December. I am not ready to hear Christmas music in every venue I walk into (& I certainly wasn't ready before Halloween). I'm not prepared for feeling like I'm going to jump out of my skin as I walk past aisle after aisle of ornaments, trees, light displays, and presents. I just thought Thanksgiving was tough...I don't even want to imagine how hard Christmas will be.
I put away our fall/Thanksgiving decorations and scanned our attic for yuletide decorations. We have a plethora of them. Mark complained (and rightly so!) that we have too many; this year, it's really too many. I can't bear to get the lovely 8 foot tree down and cover it with lights and ornaments, too many memories for this year. The boys and I have decided to purchase a live tree, after we return from our December distraction (aka Walt Disney World).
Yes, I made a major family decision a couple of weeks back. I knew there was absolutely no way on earth that Mark's boys and I could stay in Wichita Falls, TX, for the duration of Christmas break. We would simply go stir crazy. And since our families reside far away, in Kansas & Kentucky, making either a long car trip in sometimes risky winter weather, I knew I had to come up with another plan. Mark didn't let a little snow or ice stop him from driving anywhere. Guess whenever you grow up in a rural area, on a farm, you get lots of practice driving on the stuff. He was an expert at it---me, not so much. So, I will travel by car to those places only when winter weather's not a possibility.
But I digress. After seeing a friend's photos taken at Tokyo Disney, all decked out in its holiday glitz, I began checking on arrangements to take the boys to Orlando. I know that being at Disney World will not take our grief away. We were there with Mark just a little over a year ago. But I think it will be a healthy, fun distraction for all three of us. We'll be out of our usual element, in a place that is truly magical, at the most celebrated time of the year. It will be a good thing. We'll stay at a different resort, eat at different restaurants, fly on a different airline out of a different airport, so there will be new memories made.
We'll come back to our home before Christmas, go & buy that live tree, decorate it, and wing the rest. That's basically what we've been doing for the past 4 months, and so far, it's worked out okay.
I say we're "winging it," but I know full well that God is helping me make these decisions. They are sometimes well thought out....sometimes they are made in a split second. But no matter what, I hear that still voice inside of me, and I know deep within my soul each time that I am doing the right thing for our family. So far, I haven't looked back and regretted even one of those decisions, and there's at least one looming in our direct future that I need your prayers for. More about that later.
I want this to be a special Christmas, but I have my work cut out for me. I will walk a fine line of remembering old traditions & introducing new ones. We will long for our husband and daddy at his most favorite time of the year, but will remember all the wonderful memories we have of him. We will struggle, and I'm sure we will cry. But I know there will be smiles and laughter, as well. I have a Christmas letter to write to friends and family that will be the toughest ever, and family photos to put on a card to send along with it. But I know that God will give me the strength to do it, He hasn't failed me yet.
And what about angels? There are so many in our lives that I cannot even begin to name them all. One of my angels has challenged her facebook friends to remember an angel in their lives every day this month. I will "just" remember them in my heart. I encounter them every day in this town, at school, in my neighborhood, on the Lake Wichita trail, at Atlanta Bread Company, at IHOP, at church, and even at the mall & Walmart. They are in places as far away as Japan, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Kansas, and Tennessee. They are as close as next door. All are appreciated and all are needed.
Maybe, just maybe, we can get through this most holy month with their help. And next year, at this time, I pray that I dread Christmas a little less, and can laugh a lot more.