Holidays are typically a time where we all walk around with smiles on our faces, acting like this is the best time of our lives. In reality many of us struggle; with unmet expectations, reeling from the death of a loved one or the loss of a job or anything else for that matter. The truth is, life goes on despite the Christmas season and it is a painful time for many, myself included.
Christmas holds many wonderful memories for me growing up. It was a time when we would visit with family, my aunt would sparkle everyone who came into her house with glitter, including my Uncle Lee who was a gigantic teddy bear, the last person you’d expect to see glitter on. We had a house full of family for dinners, or would travel to other family to enjoy it with them. Unwrapping presents before my parents woke up and trying desperately to re-wrap them in the same manner. Christmas stockings with candy canes and clementines.
Christmas in my adult life is very different from that. Our first Christmas was a difficult one, as we had lost our first child in a miscarriage who was due right around the holiday season. I was pregnant again but still felt the loss as church services reflected on Mary and the birth of Jesus.I felt very keenly aware of the loss and I was missing a piece of my heart.
As the years passed, Logan and Abby arrived. With that, the diagnosis of autism and the dreams of my Christmas as a child faded away and we adopted new traditions as a family. They are traditions that I have grown to love and appreciate, but the truth is there is still a part of me that feels a sense of loss each year; for them, for myself, for the rest of the family.
Having the three younger children has been a blessing to my dreams of Christmas morning chaos as they too open and try to re-wrap presents, they enjoy their candy canes and clementines. I enjoy the wonder in their eyes as they look at the tree and this year play with our kitten Pekoe and shooing her out of the tree. Their questions as they process the advent season and what it means for Jesus to be born.
I have a difficult time each Christmas, to maintain good mental and physical health. With parties and drop ins, my diet is less than ideal. The sugar does a number on me, as does all the social interaction, the fake smiling. I struggle with dealing with the kids home for the two weeks over Christmas, being out of routine and full of sugar too. To try and make them conform to some unrealistic expectations to sit, be still and quiet in certain places, which leaves us all with a feeling of frustration.
For the past few Christmas’, it’s been a financial nightmare for us. Out of work, insane bills, glasses, dentists, car accidents, aka murphy’s law….it all happens around Christmas. This year is no different unfortunately. We have been incredibly blessed though, through church and community. It is a good boost in humanity and one that does not go unappreciated. Our children will be blessed this Christmas through the generosity of others. This mothers heart cannot find all the words to say thank you appropriately.
This Christmas I will do what I always do, seek to find The Beauty in Chaos.