I am writing this long post basically as a form of therapy for myself. Please don't criticize me for not being thankful for all my blessings or knowing the true meaning of Christmas. I know that the real meaning of Christmas is to remember God's precious gift to us of eternal life through Jesus Christ. I also know that I am incredibly blessed with an amazing family and such great memories, but when a person gets down in the dumps, the feelings are real and I think we can all learn a thing or two when people are honest about it.
I was down in the dumps.
I was down in the dumps.
A lot of my sad feelings came from this Christmas being so very different than any other due to the fact that life has changed so much. My parents have aged, my husband and I have aged, our kids have grown up and I no longer have my dear mom-in-law. I know I need to be grateful that I even have all the wonderful memories that I have. I am aware that not all people get to even experience some of the things I've experienced with my good husband, having children, having parents that were alive, healthy and around us while the kids were growing up and three are still with us, and also now being a grandma. I know these things are all wonderful blessings and I am so thankful for them all. I am just being real here and sharing my feelings about how it sometimes is hard going through transition.
This is a post that I put up on Facebook a few days after Christmas in regards to my feelings about Christmas this year:
"I'm not gonna lie, Christmas was really different for us this year. It's quite an adjustment to have the kids all out of the house with some of them married spending time with their new families (which is actually really wonderful for them and we are truly happy for them). It is very easy to let my mind wander to days gone by when I heard the pitter patter of four sets of little feet running down the stairs to see what "santa" brought and to see the wonder in their eyes and the excitement in their smiles as they gave gifts to each other and to us. It's easy to remember the times of both sets of our parents young and active, anxiously arriving at our home to spoil their grandkids. Those days are long gone and I thought I was prepared. We did have a very nice Christmas, but there may or may not have been a few tears shed and may or may not have been a little melt down from a certain 50-something, blond mother of four. We are in transition and will eventually settle in to all of this. Overall, we have many, many blessings to count and we are truly thankful for all of the cherished moments we were blessed to experience this Christmas season. Here are a few pictures from our Christmas day. I hope that all of you had a wonderful day with your family."
Let me backtrack a little and start from the beginning.
We also did something that I thought we'd never do; we didn't' shop for each other. He ordered a new giant American flag for our property and said that was his gift. I bought myself new clothes and that was my gift from him to me. I didn't like doing Christmas this way. At least we did buy stocking gifts for each other.
When I was at the mall shopping by myself I felt really lonely and got sad. I looked at all the happy families busy shopping and watching their children sit on Santa's lap. I just felt empty.
I'm alone quite often and I'm normally fine with it, but I really noticed the loneliness when I was out shopping by myself. I was sad that things were so different. I was sad that even the mall is different and not very crowded, most likely due to on-line shopping. I was sad that almost all of the original stores in the mall are now gone. I was sad when the memories of having my four sons in tow with me at the mall. I was sad thinking about the old days meeting my mother or mother-in-law at the mall and having lunch.
Sometimes I get sad that I didn't have daughters. All my years of raising my sons, only rarely did I wish I had a daughter, but now that they are grown and all out of the house, I realize that if I had a daughter, I probably wouldn't be as lonely. I am blessed with amazing daughter-in-laws, but I believe a mother/daughter relationship is different.
|The last of our annual Christmas party with friends. December 2013.|
So, on top of all my other issues going on, I felt really bad about myself for feeling down when here my neighbors lost everything. I tried to give myself a pep talk, but still couldn't shake it.
Any way, I wasn't quite sure what to do about Christmas Eve. Mackenzie is back in Colorado, Brittany and Ridley went back east to be with her mother, Cameron and Megan were going to spend it with her family and Grayson and Rachelle spent it with Rachelle's family. I know this is normal and we must take turns, but it's hard. We just had Hayden with us this year.
Sadly, there's a rift between a couple of people in the family, so we are never all together like this anymore, which grieves me deeply. I am praying God will restore that relationship and we will be all together again.
My parents have aged a lot and their health has declined to the point where it is very difficult to get them to our home. I really wanted to have them come to our home for Christmas dinner, but after having them all here for Thanksgiving, I realized how difficult it was to transport them and I decided to set up a little party on Christmas Eve at their assisted living facility instead.
I love this boy so much and part of me got really sad that he is here left alone with us instead of having a huge family Christmas morning like his brothers all got when they were 22.
|Me trying to smile with my gifts I purchased myself, but inside I was crying.|
My question to myself is what must I do to avoid this in the future? I DO NOT want a repeat performance. I do not want to look like the girl in the photo above where I'm holding a Christmas gift up and smiling, but inside I'm bawling, feeling sorry for myself and even feeling a little hopeless thinking, "What's the point?".
So now what do I do? Well, I'm not sure, but I made a plan of action:
"God, please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
4. Give up some of the traditions. Traditions are fun and they become part of the secure foundations of our lives, but there is a time when we must let them go.
New things I'd like to try next Christmas:
a. Going out to dinner and then to Christmas Eve candlelight service with my husband.
b. Volunteer at my parents living facility to minister to the elderly.
c. Drive around and look at Christmas lights with my hubby after our shopping and date night.
d. Find new Christmas day dinner (by the time our kids come over, they've already had a big ham dinner).
Things I'd like to keep doing:
a. Baking and doing crafts with daughter-in-laws and incorporate Ridley next year and in the future all my grandchildren.
b. Shop with my sister Kathi and her girls! Invite our sister, Kelli, too!
c. Get a small tree again. Maybe we could plan to go out with our kids next year?
d. Host a big Christmas party for our friends again.
e. Play a big rowdy card game with the kids after we eat dinner and open gifts.
f. Have small dinner party with small group of friends.
g. Next year my husband and I need to make sure and shop for one another and surprise one another!
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee." Isaiah 26:3
"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him." Psalm 40:1-3