Christmas is upon us! I love Christmas, it is by far my favorite holiday. I love the lights, decorations, trees, food, family and hot apple cider. There is something about this time of year that is perfect. It is of course stressful when the list of wants far exceeds the amount in my checkbook. But some how we always manage to make each Christmas special.
This year we did some homemade gifts that I will post pictures of soon. Our kids each got two toys and then a slew of homemade stuff. I like doing homemade gifts because of the time, thought and energy that are put into them. I know the kids don’t appreciate those things yet but as they get older I think they will.
This particular Christmas is pretty great because I will be holding my very first Christmas dinner. My family and Mike’s family is coming and I am a little nervous. There is a whole slew of things that can go wrong but luckily my family is very casual and that removes a lot of the pressure. Its disposable dishes at this house J !
I think Christmas means so much to me because it was my Grandma’s holiday. She was crazy about all holidays but Christmas was special to her. My childhood memories are of her house filled with over the top decorations, huge meals and tons of gifts. Not many of the people in my life knew her but she was exceptional. No words could ever begin to describe how amazing she was and how much she meant to me. She was so much more than my Grandma, she was my best friend. She was the person I could talk to about anything and everything. She made me feel special and safe. It’s not that I didn’t have wonderful parents, those of you who have ever met them know how great they are, but she got me in a way they just didn’t. Looking back now I realize that I was a teenager and while my parents had to be the ones with the rules she got to be the good guy. Its easy to understand why I felt like she understood me, she got to agree with everything I said J
She passed away in 2001 at 62. I remember back then thinking that she was old but the thought of my Dad dying in 12 years makes it seem so young. Time has given me a new understanding of what he must have gone through when she died. I can never express how painful her death was and how even more painful watching her die was. While time has made it easier, it still hurts. If I really think about her being gone, like writing this post, it almost hurts to breath. I have felt this loss at every happy moment in my life. Holding my babies was incredible but part of me was sad she wasn’t there. As ridiculous as it sounds I cried most of the time I was making my daughter’s baby quilt. It was something she would have done and it hurt me to realize that my children would never know her.
She was simply the most amazing Christian woman I have ever known and I can only hope that I will some day leave the kind of mark on the people I love that she made on me. For the last 11 years I have tried to avoid all things that reminded me of her too much. I very rarely ever talked about her, didn’t watch her favorite movies and didn’t carry on any of her traditions. As much as I love Christmas I don’t do anything that she did, exactly. It just hurts too much. But I had a conversation with Mike a couple weeks ago where he told me how much it bothered him that I never talk about her. There was this woman in my life who shaped who I became but I couldn’t tell him anything about her. He said that it was like I was pretending she never existed because it was easier. He was right. I love her too much to let her be forgotten.
Tonight Mike, the kids and I will be sitting down with hot chocolate and watching her favorite movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I am going to tell them all about how I watched that movie every year with my amazing Grandma and I think in a way it will be like a part of her is still with alive and with me. I just hope it makes it better instead of worse.