Well, I can successfully say... I SURVIVED! woo hoo. And now that my rant and rave session is out of the way (phew) I can talk a little about celebrating the good Jesus' birthday and the holiday season in general.
As you all knew, I was kinda bummed out about Christmas this year. I had an awful time getting into any kind of holiday spirit and was pretty Scroogey. I was questioning whether I'd make it through the week without snapping or losing it and guess what - I did it! Woot. It's little successes that make me feel a little bit more proud and think maybe I can do this widow thing... as much as I'd rather not most days.
I made it through some pretty heavy stuff the past few, well, few months really. I survived the anniversary of when we first met, of our first date, of our engagement, my birthday, the last day I saw him (that one was pretty tough) and Christmas. I've kept my head up and marched on even though some days I want to dig in a whole and lay in it. Some days my head (and my heart) feel much too heavy to lift and continue on but I somehow find a way to push through. I know that "somehow" is by the love of my husband. I really feel it's days like those that he specially beams down a little extra love for me to hold on to and push forward.
Now, warm and touchy feelings out of the way, let's recap a little, shall we. And if you're brave and make it to the end I'll reward you with a couple pics, how's that sound? ;)
Christmas Eve was basically just "another day." Lounged around in PJs all day until evening. Mom made Christmas Eve dinner as usual, ham, home made mac n cheese (drooool), veggies and potatoes. So delicious. Miss Thing absolutely adored the meal. That kid is such a good eater, definitely has her daddy's appetite! Then we got ready and went to church. Usually our tradition is to go to the 10 o'clock mass but we went to the 7 o'clock one so stinky pants could come with this year. We got to see the bells which we always miss at the later mass so that was cool. Ari was good in church and during children's time with pastor she hammed it up and waved and said "hi" to all the kids around and pointed at their noses. She's such a stinker. Then came prayer time. And the last prayer was of course for all those fighting overseas and what not. And that's when the tears came, without any apology or shame they came and they came hard. I remembered sitting in that very spot last year, praying so so hard and crying about being alone on Christmas, missing my husband so bad and just praying so hard that he'd come home to me and that the deployment would fly by. And so I cried even harder this year, another Christmas without him but no homecoming to look forward to. It was hard, it hurt. Then they sang O Holy Night which is my favorite Christmas song and always brings tears to my eyes so I bawled the rest of the way through church. Luckily I have a good church family and got lots of hugs and prayers.
Flash ahead to Christmas Day. Christmas Day really was pretty easy and my little baby girl made that possible. We came downstairs in our matching PJs to open gifts and the baby was just so excited and happy. She liked helping me rip the paper (to an extent) and actually liked her toys (and not just the boxes) it was so cute. She got this baby doll that laughs and every time it would laugh she would laugh. She really seemed intrigued by all her neat stuff. She (with the help of grandma and daddy - I'll explain) got me this beautiful ring for Christmas. Apparently, my mom was laying in bed shortly before Christmas and had this "vision" of this ring. So she headed to a jewelry store and had it specially made. It's absolutely beautiful, a big heart shaped February birthstone (Jonathan) and then a December and a January (me and baby) below it, and all three are touching. My husband used to always enlist my mom's help for getting my gifts. He'd tell her exactly what he wanted and she would do the ordering since he didn't have internet and then he'd just give her the money. It's like he was still working his magic even though he no longer stands on this earth. She said it was very much like how it was when he was here - exactly what he wanted was described to her. It will be engraved with "Forever Our Family" but they didn't have time to get it done before Christmas. It's gorgeous and I am so very loved. I also got a few other things from Ari and the parents but there's no need to go into detail about everything Ariana and I got, this entry is already long enough haha. The parents seemed to really like their gifts and so did my younger sister, every one seemed happy and it was a good feeling.
After present time we kept up with a tradition that Jonny had started - Christmas morning mimosas. He did it with fresh squeezed orange juice - he'd use the juicer and spend time getting the juice out. We cheated and used minute maid (sorry babe) haha. It was pretty neat tho because we toasted to Jonny and wished him a Merry Christmas then drank our mimosas and a few minutes later it started to snow a little bit. It was like he was saying hello and Merry Christmas to us. Beautiful. The whole day I felt his presence. Some people get weirded out when I talk about it but it's always so wonderful to me. I felt him with me from Christmas Eve night and all through the next day. And I'm pretty sure the baby caught site of him once or twice too. It was amazing.
So not only did I survive Christmas, I actually took time to enjoy it. Hopefully next year I'll enjoy more of the season, especially since Miss Thing will understand more.
Now I will let you all know that I'll probably be a little MIA for the next couple weeks. I've got my move to get underway and then a new house to get set up and a birthday party to prepare for (What was I thinking planning a party 15 days after the move - YIKES!)
I hope everyone had a great holiday and felt full of love.
And of course, some photos to hold ya over until next time you hear from me
Ari checkin out grandpa's new fishing pole
Matching PJs, Ari cracking up at her silly grandpa
Our family Christmas photo
And a flashback to 2009 Christmas parade in Jacksonville, right before deployment