And just like that….
Every year it seems as though I am more and more amazed at how quickly the holidays fly by! All the anticipation and build up. The crazy, frantic shopping, the stress, the family drama, the gifts, the returns, the food and the not-so-bonus holiday 5lbs!
I hope that your holiday, despite all of the stress, was filled with much love and happiness. This time of year is so very difficult for so many and at times we tend to forget what the holidays should really be about.
I came across something I wrote on Facebook in December 2009 that I wanted to share. This was written just one month before my husband died and it is as true today as it was then.
My Christmas wish this year is for people to stop stressing about the “perfect” tree, the “perfect” gift, the lines at the mall and matching dinnerware… My wish is for all of us to stop and see that our lives are the most perfect gift we could ever ask for and receive. The smiles, laughter, the dysfunctional relatives, the mismatched plates, and even the best recipe gone wrong are what makes the holidays special.
Back in 2009 my world was caving in on me. I knew that my husband didn’t have much time left and I knew for sure that it would be his last Christmas with us. I had to find a way to hold it together and have as “normal” of a Christmas for him and the kids. He was losing ground quickly both physically and mentally which made the “normal” part virtually impossible.
Planning, preparing and shopping were a nightmare. I remember standing in line at Macy’s with a pair of pajama pants for him (I mean what do you buy for someone who is dying?) and praying that no one would ask me who they were for because there was no way I was going to be able to hold it together if I had to open my mouth. I will never forget that trip to the mall. Looking at all the frantic holiday shoppers, I kept thinking to myself, No one in here knows I’m buying gifts for my dying husband. What if I told the woman ahead of me who is annoyed at how long it’s taking in line? I bet she would stop complaining if I did! I knew I could never say anything but I really wanted to. I wanted her to stop. I wanted every person I heard complaining that season to stop. I didn’t want to hear that you HAD to have everything “just right” for your holiday feast, or that you HAD to get everything on your child’s Christmas list. I wanted to tell everyone I possibly could that having everything “just right” doesn’t matter!
No, I never did tell anyone at the mall that day. I somehow managed to get a few gifts and made my way to my car so I could cry hysterically for about 30 minutes – alone. They didn’t need to hear my story – it would have surely made for quite an emotional scene not fit for holiday shoppers! I just wished that I had been able to get everyone to just stop for a moment and realize that our time together is what matters – not the perfect matching dinnerware.
So I dried my tears, put on some fresh mascara, headed home and posted my Christmas Wish. I still believe it to be true and I still want the world to know! I am a different person because of what I have experienced and I am grateful for the perspective it has given me. To truly appreciate the season for all of the gifts we already have is the greatest present of all!
Happy Holidays and A Very Happy New Year!