….all is calm, all is bright!

As Christmas 2016 draws to an end, I reflect back on the past few weeks and realize just how blessed I am. The passing of time and the circumstances of life have a way of slowly changing the holidays for us. As I look back on the years when my boys were little, the weeks leading up to Christmas was always hectic and chaotic yet filled with excitement and magic. The anticipation the children felt for Christmas morning filled the house as they counted down the days until Santa’s arrival. Our Christmas Eve traditions of attending church, baking cookies to leave for Santa and spreading “Reindeer food”, a very special blend of corn and glitter, around the front lawn was always something I looked forward to as much as my children. Just seeing that innocent, child-like belief that Santa’s reindeer would be feasting in their front yard while Santa was busy working inside always filled my heart with joy. As the boys grew older, the magic of Santa was replaced with the truth, hope and joy of fully understanding the true meaning of Christmas and I am grateful for that. If I’m honest, however; I have to admit that all of my fondest and most cherished memories of Christmas’ past are centered around the children and none about my marriage. Perhaps it is because I was in an unhappy marriage or perhaps my focusing solely on the children contributed to my unhappy marriage. Perhaps the mind chooses to remember only the pleasant moments. I like to think that I was only doing what all “good parents” do …we pour every ounce of ourselves into our children, making every occasion special for them, wanting to make sure they have the best of everything, including memories, so much so that we often times lose sight of our spouse in the process and find ourselves miserable, estranged and eventually divorced. Such was the case with our family.

Being a blended family for the past six years brings its own challenges and changes to the holidays. Now there’s two sets of parents and more grandparents than they can possibly count to visit and celebrate the holidays with. We choose to alternate years so that they do not have to split the day between parents. This allows the boys and the perspective parent to have uninterrupted time with them on Christmas day. Obviously, it means the off-year parent doesn’t see them at all on Christmas day. I will admit, it was difficult the first few years. However, as with anything …time has it’s own special way of soothing all things. The boys are 15, 18 and 21. They have friends and girlfriends they would rather be spending time with regardless of their family dynamics. The school Christmas plays have been replaced by teenage Christmas parties, the family “Charlie Brown Christmas” movie night has been replaced by the new Star Wars movie with friends, and then there is also a lot of hunting to squeeze in …after all, they are Mississippi boys! It’s hard to accept at times, but their parents are no longer the center of Christmas for them …and it’s okay. They are growing up, discovering their own hobbies and making new traditions. However; when they stop at the Christmas tree and point to a specific ornament and remember the childhood  moment for which it commemorates …my heart smiles because I know that those childhood memories of Christmas’ past are still with them, tucked away in a special corner of their hearts and minds as well.

While there are no longer letters, wish lists or cookies and milk for Santa and no loud music, hunting clothes to wash or girlfriends in my house today; it was a most special and fulfilling day, because it was spent with the love of my life.We slept in, exchanged gifts, went to church, took in a movie and spent the evening sitting outside under a warm Southern breeze while enjoying a glass of wine together. It was quiet and intimate, allowing us to fully focus on each other and the many blessings that God has bestowed on us. There are blessings in every season of life, you just have to change your perspective and look forward rather than back.  One of the greatest gifts this life can give, is to have someone by your side whom you love with every fiber of your being and enjoy spending your days and nights with long after the kids are grown …someone with whom you can have your own special kind of Christmas magic with!

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Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is YOU!

Obviously I didn’t follow the usual “Weekly Wrap” format this week. Yes, there have been a decent amount of workouts over the past few weeks (not nearly enough to outweigh all of the holiday treats and cocktails I indulged in, though!), a few runs, some gym classes and my December “race-a-month” completed …all of which you can read about by following my instagram account.  However, instead of giving the usual “blow by blow” details of workouts, I felt lead to share my heart regarding my “holiday struggles” over the years dealing with divorce, blended families and children growing up in the midst of it all. I know there are many others who struggle with the same and a multitude of other life changing circumstances that can make the holidays somewhat melancholy rather than merry. You are not alone. I believe, given enough time and faith …the “Merry” will return to your Christmas too.

~Hope was born in a manger when God sent his only Son on Christmas day to be the                                                                  Savior of the world!~

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap link.weeklywrap Please stop by their blogs and the other fabulous women who’ve linked up …you’re sure to find enough inspiration and motivation to get you moving in 2017!

I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled program next week and will reveal my 2017 goals soon. Remember, I’ve got the BIG birthday coming up this weekend and wanted my 2017 goals to somehow reflect this number….so stay tuned!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one Christmas at a time!

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18 thoughts on “….all is calm, all is bright!

  1. Although we don’t have a blended family, we do have the same thing happening with “aging”kids who are no longer are “kids.” I also miss those days of pre-Christmas excitement, seeing Santa in the mall, and having eager helpers when it came time for decorating and baking. This year, Santa didn’t leave any presents under the tree…and everyone was asking about it (maybe we’ll have to put in a good word with Santa so he’ll come back next year) 😉

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  2. Lovely reflections. When my kids were younger, we split holidays between my (divorced) parents and my in-laws, so we still had two to four houses to visit (depending on if any were combined), and it was exhausting! This year I swapped my Christmas Eve church service to see Rogue One with “the kids” and it was worth the time together. My struggle now is to NOT do it all and let them contribute — they are good at shopping, wrapping and cooking, even if they are happy to let me do the clean-up.

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  3. Oh my gosh, it’s pretty interesting how the holidays bring out the best and the worst… my little family is fine and intact, but I’ve got a wacky sister who did her best to destroy the holidays for the rest of us. We prevailed and actually had a really good time. Life is funny that way. I do miss the magic of the holidays that we had when the boys were little, but we’re in a different phase and this one is really good.

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  4. Karen @ Fit in France says:

    Your perspective is wonderful, thanks for sharing.
    I do not come from divorce nor does my husband so besides the 24th and 25th, I have nothing else I have to be / place to be. I have also learned to lighten up a little…. less decorating, no cookie baking, and that’s ok. I didn’t even set the table for my 16 guests ! I let them do it when they got to our place. We even had to wake up our kids this year, who preferred sleep over presents. LOL. That NEVER happens.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your story. We went to three different places to celebrate since both mine and my husband’s parents are divorced. I come from a blended family but I love how we all leave out the word “step.” I have 4 brothers and one sister! They are so good to my kids. Two out of my three children are still in the Santa phase. We bake brownies for Santa each year. We also have two elves on the shelf. Those drive us nuts and do not work on my strong willed 5 year old. I know I will blink and my children will be grown like yours! I’m glad you enjoyed your time with your family and hope you have a happy new year as well!

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  6. I love this and the realness of it too! We’ve both shared our challenges we’ve faced with blended families but one thing is for certain. We both have found the love of our life and many people never get to experience that part.
    I don’t often reflect on how lucky I am in the hustle and bustle of things but it’s the moments of quiet and stillness that get my attention. When holding hands and a simple thoughtful gesture means more than any material gift.
    Christmas and traditions have no doubt changed over the years and if we’re still here, they will change even more. What do you say? Change is good, yes, indeed it is!

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  7. What a beautiful post. I admit I miss that special childlike Christmas magic when the kids were little but agree it’s a different kind of magic now. This year, I allowed my DIL to host Christmas dinner. You know what? The world didn’t come to an end. Actually, it was quite pleasant (and much less stressful) not having to scrub my house and have everything “just so”. I hope she offers next year. LOL. Thanks for linking, Teresa!

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