How was your Thanksgiving? We spent time with my sister and my grandparents, and Mr. Fix-It’s grandparents and oodles and oodles of time with our crew. It was lovely that we got to be together and have some fun together, but it wasn’t one of those holidays that will go down in anyone’s book as a magic family gathering.
My grandpa was in the hospital recovering from colon surgery and we had to visit him there. (And he couldn’t eat any food, so we couldn’t even take him a plate of turkey!) My sister had to work most of the holiday weekend–including Thanksgiving morning–so we didn’t get much time together and we didn’t get to go Black Friday shopping. And we ended up traveling to PA to visit Mr. Fix-It’s grandparents (which was a blessing!) instead of being able to meet them in VA, where we would have gotten to see them and Mimi and my sister-in-law all in one fell swoop.
It just really brought home how our family dynamic has changed over the last couple years.
Ok, that’s an understatement. I don’t like change. At all.
And just for the record, I don’t like being so far from my family. (And I guess I ought to be thankful we’re this close!) And I don’t like not having my parents, especially at the holidays. And I don’t like having to work, when I’d really just like to huddle in our house under the blankets with my kids where everyone is safe and sound and right in my hands, and never, ever, come out again.
The changes, the frustration with all the changes, the worry and nerves about all the changes, the emotional fight against all the changes…
…Sometimes the holidays just hurt.
And I know my Momma would say, “This too shall pass.” And “life’s about change and nothing stays the same.”
And three sets of bright blue eyes look up at me saying “Be tough. Be brave, Momma.” Because that’s what I always say to them.
And I will.
Don’t be afraid to be sad. Take a break and cry if you want to. Then get out there and pick out that tree. Put up those lights. Peace and Joy are gifts, you have to be willing to accept them to receive them.
- Listen to Christmas hymns. The songs of faith are filled with rich meaning, depth, and miraculous wonder. Rudolph’s got nothing on Come All Ye Faithful if you’re looking for a little joy!
- Decorate. I admit, sometimes this is the hardest part for me. Every strand of lights and ornament for the tree makes me think of my mom. But once I just do it, the house is immediately more cheerful.
- Get outside. Cold weather and early darkness can be a drag on a hurting heart. Be sure to bundle up and get outside–even for a few minutes at a time. A brisk winter night is a great time to see the stars!
- Bake! Who can be sad while smelling sugar cookies baking? Just do yourself a favor and give it away to friends, family, neighbors, teachers, the mailman, whoever! Spending the whole holiday baking can be therapeutic. Spending the whole holiday eating is self-destructive.
- Write it down. Scrapbooks, photo albums, journals, smashbooks (I’ve got a whole pinboard of ideas!) whatever makes sense–just jot down your thoughts, feelings, memories. Make lists of new traditions to start and old traditions you don’t want to lose. Share them with your kids or keep them to yourself, sometimes it’s good just to let it out.
- Serve and Give. Volunteer. Adopt a family or an angel tree child. (We usually try to do 3, one for each of our children to buy for.) Help with a food drive. Wrap gifts for soldiers overseas. Think about others and get your mind off your grief for the holidays.
Do you have any suggestions? What do you do to beat the holiday blues? I have to admit, I don’t think I did a very good job last year. But this year, I’m determined to be tough, be brave, and be joyful!
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