So December is a busy month for pretty much everyone but this family right here gets the blessing of the birthdays thrown into the mix too!
Noah, our oldest daughter kicks things off on Nov 25 (which happens to be Thanksgiving every couple of years), then we hit December and my Gramma is the 11th, my dad, my cousin and myself are all on the 13th, my sister is the 18th, our daughter James is the 22nd, then Christmas, then Elisha is the 31st. BAM! New Year. Not to mention all of our close friends who are speckled in there as well. This is also a reason why my girls end up having a tough scheduling problem with their birthday parties. We’ve tried it a couple different ways but still haven’t found the best route. As a matter of fact, this year all 3 of them are waiting until 2018 to do their parties with friends. In that regard, it can feel like your birthday has been extended but Mom gets it, girls, really I do.
I know everybody is dealing with the chaos of the season, which is actually part of the reason why I love it so much! I don’t know of any other season that gives us such an intensity and excitement the way Christmas and this season does. At the same time, it brings us together with family in such a relaxing way too. We make more time for evening movies with hot cocoa together and typically donations increase because we tend to think about people other than ourselves. It’s just a great time!
However, when you are at a point where you have lost someone or there are changes to the holiday, it can get rough. I’m sure most of you have dealt with this feeling as well. I thoroughly enjoyed our holidays this year, but it was definitely different.
My grandparents have not had the most amazing 2017 and it meant we weren’t all together around the table with each other. My gramma is in constant need of help to get around and getting into our house is basically impossible along with my grampa getting out of the house and up our stairs to get into the house. My Nana passed away a few months ago and this meant one more face absent from the table. Way to take the cheer out of the gathering, right? These were obvious things that were missed but in a selfish way, I also missed having my large fancy dining room and my staircase that I decorated. In our last house, I would put out a tree in every room and then some…yes the bathrooms too. In our downsizing, it left me with one narrow tree for the living room, a strand of garland on my mantle and a strand of garland which I hung on the wall in the shape of a tree so I could still hang all of the Disney ornaments up in the playroom. I am very grateful, don’t get me wrong about that, but the holidays in all of their splendor sometime remind us of whats missing as well.
Since my gramma also had a birthday earlier this month I’ve been thinking about her a lot. You know when I was younger she used to take me for dates what seemed like all the time. We would go to the tearoom and then maybe a movie and shopping. I remember those trips very well and I’m thankful that I even have the memory of her taking my oldest to the tearoom too! She even took me to see Ace Ventura guys, she was an awesome granny! I know she hated watching the whole thing but she stuck it out.
She has always written in cards that I “just keep making lemonade” and more than ever before in my life I have been thinking about that message from her.
Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m making really great lemonade.
I feel like I’m making the sourest, full of seeds, hot lemonade actually.
Sometimes I’m not even sure I am using lemons. Sometimes it even feels like I am using olives and Tabasco. Sometimes it is just nasty.
But sometimes I get a glimpse of the craziness around me when I am about to pull every hair out and cry myself through a shower and I realize that my gramma has always seen a quality in myself that sometimes even I lose sight of. A quality that I’m not quite sure I can take credit for but I need to hold on to.
I opened a farm book that Benjamin wanted me to read him the other day and there was an inscription in the front cover:
Christina- In 20 years Grammie wil remind you that you told her you wanted to be a farmer. I hope you will be. That will be a good thing to be-
Funny how she will never know just how much that short, simple note reassures me. I made a comment as a 4-year-old and my gramma saw through it and is still inspiring me with it almost 30 years later. I just wish I would have found the book sooner so I could have been searching for this farm 10 years ago instead of only a year into the process! Gramma called it.
So even if she wasn’t at the table asking for a cup of coffee, even though grampa wasn’t there to talk to me about the world or music, even though Nana wasn’t there to make a cheesecake for, even though Uncle Matt, Clint, and Patsy weren’t there to play dominos or bring buttermilk pie and even though there wasn’t a huge foyer to decorate…It was still a beautiful Christmas with memories made and nothing can take those away.
So this season and throughout the entire year, I have to keep my head up and remember to keep making lemonade. Not just for myself but because not just my memories are at stake but my kids too. These may seem like Christmas memories that aren’t my favorite but my kids are forming their lasting memories that one day they will compare their family memories with just as I am.
So raise your glass of lemonade…or cocoa…and lets toast to the good times and to the memories we are making. No one ever remembers how clean the house is if its a good party. Good food, good people, and some sweet lemonade is inevitably the best you could ask for.