Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas {eve}

Christmas Eve has been bigger than Christmas Day for my family, for most of my life. Christmas Eve is when my dad's family celebrates Christmas. Gathering at Grandma and Grandpa's house was the best thing ever. My dad's family is unique (sorta) in that we saw each other every week of the year, so why did this one night seem any different? It was obviously due to the Christmas season cheer that made things different. Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa's was an event that was NOT allowed to be missed. I remember one year my mom's family decided to get together in Bountiful on Christmas Eve.
We met early in the afternoon and although most of the relatives stayed late into the evening, we rushed back to Sandy in order to make it on time to Grandma and Grandpa's. My mom has told us that when we were younger either my sister, or myself was sick, yet we still went to Grandma and Grandpa's.
The tradition has stayed through the years. Even as the grandchildren have gotten married, it is an event that is not missed. It's changed a little...especially since Grandpa passed away.'s still that one special gathering of the year.

This year however....
instead of getting in the car and driving down the road with my family, I am sitting in my bedroom, 
watching the headlights pull away from the house, through blurred vision.
This year,
I am missing that one special tradition.
It is killing me.
When I was informed that I couldn't put weight on my leg for a month,
I cried because I knew that meant no going to Grandma's house.
In some ways, {well in most ways}
today hasn't felt much like Christmas Eve.

I was talking with my mom today and she said, "This is a weird Christmas."  It was something that I had been thinking about for awhile, but was curious as to why she thought it was weird.  Basically it was for the exact same reasons I was thinking it is a little weird.  The past month has been a hard one for my entire family. It's been a month of trial after trial.  {This isn't supposed to be a 'woe is me' section, but it has to be explained, for this post to come together}  In November, my Grandpa fell, three separate times, the last fall resulting in a broken hip.  Two days after the fall, he went in for surgery, did amazing.  Two days after the surgery is when we lost my cousin in a tragic car accident.  Three days later we laid her to rest.  The next week my cousins husband was deployed to Afghanistan. Amongst all of these things, several of my family members were without jobs. My mom and aunt came to the conclusion that my Grandpa wouldn't be able to go back to living where he had been, so the search began for a new place for him to live.  On the 13th, my cousin had surgery on his neck, and has been in the hospital ever since.  Leaving my aunt to also be in the hospital with him.  Then on Wednesday I had my surgery, which leaves me stuck inside.  Two days after my surgery, my cousin's husband had surgery on his foot, leaving him laid up for a month as well.   At a time when we normally come together as a family, our family is finding that a little difficult to do this year.  And I am struggling with that.  I love my family.  I love being able to get together with my family.  Even if all we do is sit and watch football, or something silly like that.  

I want to be sad.  I want to say forget Christmas.  I want to be mad that I am laid up, and stuck inside my house.  But I can't.  I realized that today.  I thought of my sweet cousin's children, having to celebrate Christmas without their mom.  Suddenly my being stuck inside, wasn't so big.  I recently saw some pictures of her kids that were posted on Facebook, and they were happy.  So happy.  I told myself today, that if they can be happy right now, when their struggle is much worse than mine, than I can be too!  I thought of my cousin in Alaska, with her 4 children, celebrating Christmas without their dad, because he is away serving our country.  Again, my struggle, not so bad.  I love seeing her Facebook statuses that include the temperature of Alaska, how much snow they've gotten, and what they are doing.  Today's said something along the lines of how her children bundled up last night to go watch Santa Claus drive down the street, it was -33° outside, and they enjoyed every second of it.  I imagine it is hard to celebrate while they're dad is gone, but they are still able to do that.   

This has also given me a chance to remember the real reason of the season.  It is a time when we celebrate the birth of Christ, which in turn -I think- means celebrating his life.  He lived to serve.  He lived to love.  He lived, so that we could be with our families forever.  He lived, so that our pain, isn't everlasting.  I am blessed to know that.  I am blessed to know with my whole heart that families are forever.  Although life has been hard for my family lately, it has brought us closer together.  It's sad to say, but my cousins funeral was the first time I had seen several of my cousins in years.  I have felt closer to some of my cousins, because of these hard times.  And for that, I am grateful. 

So tonight,  I am going to crutch out of my room, sit in the living room with my family, and just embrace the moment.  I will take a moment to remember everything that I have felt as I have written my thoughts tonight.  I am not going to be sad that I missed Christmas Eve at Grandma's tonight.  I am going to be happy that I can be with my parents, and sister and brother-in-law tonight.  I am going to spend a little more time reflecting on the real reason for the season and remembering those loved ones who can't be with us this year.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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