As Christmas approaches I am a ball of mixed emotions. The holiday season is my most favorite time of the year. I LOVE Christmas lights and Christmas trees.... Christmas songs and the spirit that seems to surround most people... it's been difficult to ready myself for this season. I know it will be tough, I am preparing myself for that. We've been praying for the ability to be gracious and thankful in the midst of our pain and sorrow. We have been making a purposeful effort to give thanks for what we have been given... Noah... Courtlynn... Declan... and each other. We have more than a lot of people do and even though my sweet Dex is not with us and we have a huge whole in our hearts from his passing, we are both SO thankful for the time we were able to spend with him. So... we are trying. I have been listening to Christmas music (a LONG time favorite of mine) and find myself recollecting back to Christmas Eve services when I was little and family gatherings... but yet, I can't help but shed some tears as I think about what we are missing this holiday season. We decorated our tree on Sunday... all I could do was remember last years tree decorating event... with my little man content to watch his brother and sister. When we were done, Nate and I just sat on the stairs and looked at the tree and silently cried. I wasn't even sure I wanted to put our tree up this year, but I am trying to remember that my kids need to have our holiday traditions firmly in place. They need to know that just because Declan died, doesn't mean they aren't worthy of a great Christmas. They are so excited about it... and as usual, Noah started his Christmas list a few weeks ago... using a Walmart ad to circle all the toys he wants. He passed on the tradition to Co-Co Bean this year and taught her how to carefully go through the ads, she has been busy circling toys in her very own ad. Noah did write out his list at Sunday school the other day and has since told me several times that he would like a brother for Christmas. We've explained to him that he has a brother and he says, "I know, but I want another one." I know all he wants is to have a brother to play with... a brother who is here on earth with us. I know he isn't thinking about having a brother in heaven and what that means for him. It really makes me sad when he tells me that. There are times when his pain and his longing for a brother weighs on me more than my own sorrow. As the holiday approaches, I am stuck between my own expectations of how I want the season to go, making the holiday as special as I can for my kiddos and dealing with the overwhelming feeling of longing, heartache and sadness.... all while trying to be thankful and appreciative for all that God has given us. UGH.... that is a lot to juggle.
* He would also like a four wheeler... a tough kid to satisfy!