Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas Crazy: Keep It All Year Long

OK y'all.  We've arrived.  Last Christmas Crazy post.  We've taken the tree down and begun to switch out all the decorations.  I'm upset, y'all. I'm not gonna lie.  Christmas has been...magical, as it always is.  For me it's not about the gifts, even though I still totally believe in Santa...still. And I don't say "It's not about the gifts" in a smug way as if to say I'm superior to those people who truly love receiving gifts on Christmas. I happen to be married to one of those people whose love language is gift-giving and receiving gifts.  My love-language is words of affirmation.  Probably explains why I'm a writer and also notoriously bad at giving gifts.

Anyways...back from that tangent that took us down the road into the middle of nowhere...I don't get all crazy about Christmas because of the gifts.  I like the songs, the traditions, food...and most of all, the people I spend the holiday with.  The people I spend all my holidays with: my close knit, talk loud, hug and kiss and laugh until the house shakes, praying together, staying together, eating together, loving forever family. 

Gah, just writing all that gets me all misty eyed.  If you've been reading this blog since last January you know that I'm super close with my family.  I grew up a military brat so we moved around a lot growing up.  And at each new place, we didn't always make friends or have the nicest neighbors right away.  I didn't always fit in at school on the first day or even first month.  We didn't immediately have a church to call our second home on Sundays.  Or birthday parties, weekend barbecues, or weeknight potlucks to go to.  But I had my family.  We had each other And nine years ago Ben joined the crew, albeit officially just last June.

I've missed out on some things because I love my family so much.  Sunday dinners at home took the place of many a weekend hang out at college; a sister's dance recital or competition may have caused me to miss couple Bible study classes or dinners with friends. But I don't regret putting them first, because they've put me first too many times in the past the past 27 years. 

Last Christmas, just a couple days after in fact, I was beginning my journey to transplantation.  The hospital became my new home away from home as I visited for doctors appointments, having a ton of blood drawn, while not knowing what to expect.  I was hopeful, but still uncertain. I think of others who have similar story to mine, of living with a chronic illness, facing a time of uncertainty, not knowing what will happen the next day, whether you'll get another Christmas, but always trying to view things with a glass half-full spin.  Heather Von St. James, an incredible survivor of mesothelioma, was diagnosed with cancer around Thanksgiving 2005, and today she is now living cancer free with her husband and sweet daughter, baking cupcakes in their kitchen  (read more about her story here).  

On Christmas morning, while my sisters and I filled muffin tins with frittata mixture, and while Ben fried chicken, Jocelyn made the waffles and Holiday Inn played in the background, I found myself thinking that if I had to be found in the kitchen making breakfast with my family every single morning, I'd be at peace.  This past Christmas, my first since the transplant, reminded me of how blessed we are to be the ones to keep each other company and the ones to call each other out when our breath stanks.   God knew what he was doing when he set us all up for life.  Christmas = the perfect holiday with the most perfect group of people.  

And to that I simply say thank you God.  Thank you God for allowing me  and so many others to share another holiday season with the dear friends, precious family members and all the people who accompany us on this crazy wild ride called life. 

Hope you had a meow-y little Christmas.