Oh friends, we have come to the final. The big day. Christmas. And I can honestly say that this was one of the best Christmases I have ever had.
We managed to keep things reasonable when it came to the girls and their gifts. Both of them were equally excited about the festivities that started last night, Christmas Eve. We spent Christmas Eve with Shawn’s family in Alliance, and Christmas Day with my family. Shawn’s parents and sisters are in town this year because my brother-in-law is getting married on NYE. This is the first Christmas they have been here in a very long time, so last night was really special. Santa came and visited, as always, and we had a wonderful meal and gift exchange. It’s always so low-key and decently laid back. I really, really love spending time with his family.
Christmas day was spent in a wrapping paper haze, no doubt. We set up the presents last night. The girls got up about 7:30ish and we waited until about 7:50 for my parents, sister and future sister-in-law to come up and watch the girls open their gifts. Needless to say, they loved everything and Ellery really got into it more than I thought she would. It’s always nice to see your children get really excited about something, especially when it is something as wonderful as Christmas. Then we went down to my parents’ house, where we crashed for the day. Santa brought them some amazingly awesome gifts there, as well. My siblings also got them some really nice stuff. Of course, the biggest hit for Caelan was NOT the LeapPad, but the $10 doctor kit from my parents. LOL. Of course. Santa was good to us, as always. We crashed a bit, played a bit and then more family came over this evening to celebrate. In all, it was a wonderful day and I cannot imagine it going any better.
This was the first Christmas in thirteen years that I actually was excited for. Maybe it was having both my girls to celebrate with. Maybe it was knowing that my little family is complete and we were starting our Christmas traditions as a whole family. Maybe it was because 2011 has been so, so good to us and just the relief of not worrying about anything and actually letting myself enjoy it all for once. But I believe my Grandma Alice had a hand in all of this.
See, she has seen my heart go from broken and shattered after she passed, to patching up through friendships and relationships along the way, to being whole again. I am truly whole again. With my amazing husband by my side, and my two beautiful daughters, I finally can say that I feel whole. And I don’t mean that I wasn’t a person before all of this, I was. I just needed the healing of the unconditional love my little family brings to me. So, I think Grandma Alice was in my heart, working directly to let me know that it was okay this year. It was okay that some songs still make me cry, and that some memories are still a little hard to bring up. It was okay that I miss her so much, even today, more than I ever thought I could miss anyone. And it was okay that she isn’t here. For once, I honestly felt this year that it was okay that she wasn’t with us. Not to say I don’t miss her, and that her absence doesn’t hurt, it does. But this is the first time in thirteen years that I finally feel like we’re all going to be okay, and that it is okay that she is watching us from Heaven, laughing at me even now as I write this. Because I finally understand what it means to be okay with someone being gone. It does not mean that it is painless. It doesn’t mean that I don’t cry, or it doesn’t hurt. It just means that it is okay. It will be okay. I know she loves me, my family and my girls. I know that she sees me and is proud of me, the mother, daughter and wife I have become. I know that she laughs with me, comforts me when I am sad and soothes me when I miss her…I know this. She is with me, everyday. In a place that is cancer-free, pain-free and where she can be herself again with my Grandpa Ted, who I never got the chance to meet, sadly. In many ways I have been angry that cancer took her from us so early. I have not understood why. And I still don’t. But she taught me this year that it is okay. I don’t have to understand it, like it or be okay with it. But, I do have to live and give my all to my family. And if that means starting to see Christmas and the season as a time of joy, peace, fellowship, fun, excitement, wonder and bliss for my two little ladies, then you know what. It’s Okay. I can do that. And I promise to do that, from now on.
Merry Christmas everyone. Merry Christmas, Grandma Alice. I love you. Thank you. For everything.