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!
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. 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!