A Season of new traditions and old…

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One of my favorite Veggie Tales reminders…

This year has been a season full of some real high highs and some real low lows for our family and though I make it a mission to try not to will time away, (because I know well that we are only blessed with so much of that precious commodity), I regrettably found myself doing that very thing as October started to roll in. I started willing 2016 to just be over. Where normally I would be gearing up for what is certainly my “busy season” of the year , instead I was dreading it. Absolutely hoping to my very core that I could keep the holidays from coming all together. I laugh typing this because I was beginning to  sound like a excerpt from  the Dr. Seuss Christmas classic, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and honestly that’s kind of fitting for the temperament I was suddenly starting to display quite regularly). Every single day that passed was inching me closer to what I know will no doubt be an emotional culmination on Christmas Eve, one that is absolutely inevitable and I hated it so instead of embracing it when I felt it come on in October I did what I am pretty good at and I buried it and let it fester and began to will 2016 away in attempts to just avoid dealing with it

Before I go too far and confuse you all I need to pause to explain a few background details…..

……………..You see one of those low lows that I mentioned in the beginning of this post came when my paternal Grandmother passed away earlier in the year. This very same low point is the reason I began to will the rest of this year away, this Christmas season will mark a painful 1st in my life and one that I was desperately hoping to just avoid all together. My grandmother’s wishes were to not have a funeral, burial, ceremony or anything and so her wishes were respected. We did nothing, I got no goodbye moment, no moment of weeping with family to begin to cope, just gone. In fact I haven’t even seen any of my other family from that side at all except my father since she passed.  I have not one single memory in my life of spending a Christmas Eve without my Grandma there.  For as far back as my memories go, my Grandma Edna has been present at every, single, one of my Christmas Eves ………….not a one on record that I didn’t visit with her and sneak cookies while we would chat . I am her only granddaughter (or was, before my own daughters started coming along) and we had a very special kind of bond, one that I will always cherish, BUT I didn’t want to face the gaping void in my holiday season where every single emotion would come to surface about it all at once, so I began willing it away……………

Now that I cleared that up, I was beginning to act & sound an awful lot like dear old Mr. Grinch and it was not a flattering look on me. Then all of a sudden, like a 2×4 straight to the side of my head swung by God, I had an Emotional Epiphany about my mood and how to change it. I realized that I was going to ruin the entire season for my kiddo’s being Grinchy all because I wanted to live in a tranquil state of never changing Christmas Eves  of past with my Grandma and I couldn’t……….and like a flood I processed my emotions about it (well at least I started to, I have a lot of the *feels* in my head & heart they will all process in time). I dissected my feelings about Christmas Eve and what went into making it so hard to face this year. I cried some tears, I blew some snot, I got the puffy red eyes and blotchy tear stained cheeks and then like that I knew what I was supposed to do.

One of the reasons I loved my Christmas Eve tradition so dearly was in fact the tradition of it. The predictability of it all, I knew where I would be and I knew who I would be with. Aside from all that may have fluctuated about the other family in attendance, there would be Grandma Edna & we would nibble cookies & chat. It was the moment that no matter what else was going on, no matter if we’d visited Santa that year, or watched “A Christmas Story” enough times. No matter how tall our tree was, if it was fake or real, had been up for a few days or a few weeks. No matter what else was supposed to make it “feel” like Christmas it never fully did until that moment every year……. nibbling cookies and chatting with Grandma made it officially feel like Christmas and with her gone I needed a new recipe to achieve that feeling of Christmas. In that moment of post emotional explosion calm that I was sitting in, piece by piece I put together my plan for healing from this loss, and enjoying my holiday seasons again.

Here’s my recipe:

Healing Through Loss                                  Yeild: Lifetime of Cherished Memories

1 part Savor the Memories

3 parts Creating New Traditions {quantity is dependent on your ambition level}

6 parts Laughter {quantity is reflective of your family size}

4  Little Love Muffins {quantity is reflective of the number of little hearts you nourish}

1 Generous Sprinkling of Chaos to taste {optional}

Annual Consistency is recommended to ensure full emotional impact will continue for years upon completion of first batch.

Begin with 1 part Savor the Memories [People will leave us here on Earth by choice or not, but the memories are ours to cherish as long as we let ourselves keep them]. Next decide on your level of ambition and blend in (x) # of parts Creating New Traditions, I chose 3 but I have been known to be insanely ambitious.[The purpose of this ingredient is to give you the ability to make new memories for generations to come, not to add more work so think before irrationally deciding on a quantity]. Laughter parts get mixed in directly equal to your family size. [Do not add all at once, better distributed over time].  Next you add however many Little Love Muffins God has blessed you with and a generous Sprinkling of Chaos because, at least in our family’s case, just a little chaos can make all the difference! Consistency is entirely a preference as each recipe will look a little different for each family. The important thing is that healing can take place and traditions can be built upon creating memories that will multiply!

Let’s Remember the Reason for the Season!

Through this whole process this season I have found myself needing to be reminded that the details don’t mean anything if the heart of your Christmas isn’t Family. Family we choose, family we don’t choose but still choose to love, Family near or far, family only present in our memories or family that lives in the same home as us, but family is key. I could go really in depth into the reason I believe this but that’s one for another time. The kids are getting restless, bedtime is approaching and our Kindness Elves are getting antsy to move again so I am gonna sum it up short like………

It all begins and ends with a little baby, born in a manger, sent by love, to save us from ourselves, who died to cover our grace so that we can celebrate life, spread His Word, and learn to be His hands & feet. Together we can be brothers & sisters in Christ, family in the name of Jesus because after all, Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

***In the weeks to come I will issue additional blog posts detailing each of the new Christmas Traditions our family has decided to begin this season, each one will be an additional step in the process of my Healing Through Loss this holiday season. I hope you feel compelled to drop back by my blog here to follow our families journey through this transition Christmas season!

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