Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Holiday Miracle

At the beginning of the Christmas season I had a meltdown. I was tired of all my bah humbug grinchy family members ruining my Christmas cheer year and year. The kids and I had been fighting about them not wanting to go to Thanksgiving dinner and they were already being brats about Christmas. My husband was moping around about the holidays. I haven't had as much energy, physically or mentally, since I had major surgery in July. School was very homework heavy this semester and I was just feeling generally overwhelmed with the stresses of being a mom and caregiver. I couldn't take any more fighting over something like the holidays. This should be the happiest time of the year. It used to be. I needed it to be again.

I wanted to go to a small town Christmas festival early in the season and my suggestion was being met with complaints and grumbling. My kids said no way. My husband said he'd go if I went, but he didn't want to. After the month long fight over Thanksgiving and the complaints I was already hearing about Christmas, I had enough. "FINE! I AM DONE. I'M NOT MAKING ANYONE DO ANYTHING CHRISTMASSY. IF PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO DO CHRISTMAS THINGS I'M NOT MAKING YOU DO THEM. I'M NOT FORCING YOU. I'M NOT GOING WITHOUT YOU. I'M JUST DONE." I may have shed a tear or two. After years and years of being the queen of Christmas, with three kids and a husband who hate the holidays, I finally broke. My Christmas spirit was gone.

Something happened to my family after I had my outburst. They all decided we should go to the Christmas festival. I was pouting and not even dressed and they told me I should get ready. We went and no one complained about anything, even though there wasn't as much to do as I had hoped. We stood in long lines out in the cold, and no one said an single negative thing. They even agreed to get our picture taken with Santa for the first time since they were little.

But it wasn't just that night. They were enthusiastic about taking Christmas card pictures. They laughed and posed and had fun with it. Alyssa spent the evening helping me pick out the picture to use as our Christmas card and choosing which card design to order.

My husband has watched many Christmas movies with me this month. He wore silly socks  to our family party even though he doesn't like attention.

Alyssa came home from her dad's house for our family Christmas party. She wore a Christmas sweater and socialized the whole night, which is very unlike her.

We've watched Christmas movies, listened to Christmas music, made gingerbread houses and my family hasn't complained at all. Alyssa has asked to do things I hadn't even planned this year, like going on a Christmas light scavenger hunt last night.

Caleb didn't want to go look at lights with us and I was disappointed, but I wasn't going to say anything about it since they've been so good all month. Alyssa jumped on his case and told him he had to go. He said, "Alyssa, you don't even like Christmas." She responded, "I know, but I'm really trying to this year.". I got a tear in my eye and told her, "Christmas is magical and life is hard. We should look for any magic we can find in this world." She said, "You're not wrong." and yelled at her brother to get in the car.

We drove around for hours last night, listening to Christmas music and trying to find all the hard things on Alyssa's list (Mrs. Claus and the Grinch escaped us). We all had fun and we laughed and laughed.

I have truly seen the magic of Christmas and giving in my family this year. They could see I was struggling because life IS hard and I needed the happiness of the holidays and positive family time. They gave that to me. I think they needed it too, especially Alyssa. As my kids are getting older, family time is the most precious gift in the world to me. My heart has grown three times its normal size this December. There have been no stresses this week, only JOY. I'm looking forward to Christmas eve festivities tonight and opening presents tomorrow morning with all three of my kids. I'm feeling Christmas excitement like I haven't felt in years. It's a holiday miracle!