Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bittersweet December

I didn't really get many pictures from Thanksgiving (for some reason my camera doesn't take very good indoor candid shots) but we had a wonderful day. We ended up having our feast on Friday instead of Thursday so we spent Thursday relaxing and prepping some of the dishes we were going to have on Friday.

On Friday we enjoyed the fruits of our labor. The meal was great and it was so nice to spend time with family and friends. We played games till nearly midnight. I know it shouldn't take a special holiday to remind me of how blessed I am, but Thanksgiving just really emphasizes to me how much we truly have. I'm so grateful for my family, especially my husband and children, and our awesome friends.

One of my favorite days of the year isn't Thanksgiving though. It's right after. Not Black Friday (you'll never find me in a store on Black Friday, ha!) Just the fact that Thanksgiving is over makes me feel like it's finally ok to break out the Christmas music and decor. I force myself to wait, but now...freedom!

I love Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year, at least for me. I've always loved it, but each year there's a little sadness mixed in with the joy. A little loneliness to remind me to cherish the days and the moments I have with those I love most. Fifteen years ago on December 4, my dad left us to be with God. My life completely changed. We had been writing a script for the children's Christmas play at my church together and then he was just gone. Christmas was spent without him for the very first time. A new year began for us, but not for him. My heart broke in a way that I don't think will ever really heal. Does it help to remind myself that he's with Jesus? Sometimes. It might be selfish, but I'd rather he was with me. I'd rather he was spending Christmas with his grandchildren.

So in between the gratitude of Thanksgiving and the joy of Christmas, I indulge in a little self-pity and sadness. Just for a moment, I yearn for something long gone, never to return. Because when I do, it makes the joy and gratitude just a little more poignant. I cling a little tighter to my husband and my children. I love a little bit harder. And I thank God for every moment I get with them, because the next could be the last.

My dad, Bill Stock, with my two brothers, Dave and Mark, about 1996 I think.

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