It’s December and December is a big month of remembering at our house. December isn’t just a big month because of Advent and Christmas, December is also a big month because of other things that happen in our lives too. December is the month of remembering big, life-changing events in our family. I love December (and if I’m being totally honest, I also feel a bit overwhelmed by it at times).
December 2003 was one of the many (but most significant) months that I helped care for my Aunt Linda as she was hospitalized and battling leukemia. She loved redbirds and she tasked me with finding the most perfect redbird Christmas cards for her to mail out that Christmas – her last Christmas with us. Christmas cards were always special to me, but this is the year that I realized just how special it is that people stop and take time (no matter what is happening in their lives) to send a card. It was VERY important to my aunt that she get those cards mailed out that year and it made receiving Christmas cards even more meaningful. (In all honesty, it also makes me feel really guilty about NOT sending cards when I’m “too busy” some years.) And now, with each Christmas card I receive (no matter who it is from), I remember Aunt Linda’s commitment to mailing out her Christmas cards.
December 24, 2003 was the day we discovered we were pregnant with our son, after 18 months of trying. What incredible news to discover on Christmas Eve and what an incredible thing to remember each Christmas Eve morning since then!
December 2004 was our son’s first Christmas and our first Christmas without my Aunt Linda. That Christmas I started the tradition of adding a redbird to my Christmas mantle decorations in honor of each family member who was no longer here to celebrate with us. Those redbirds are now some of my most meaningful decorations and they help our family remember our loved ones each year.
December 2010 was the first year my dad EVER got excited about putting up Christmas lights. Fast forward to this year, my dad now has a huge Christmas light display synced to music AND he has synced up 20 other houses in his neighborhood to his display as well! He even made a mini light/music display to set up at my house! The man who used to get Grinch pajama pants every year for Christmas has now turned into the guy who sets up a massive Christmas light display, wears a Santa hat, and spreads Christmas cheer throughout the neighborhood! I love seeing the lights each year and remembering how this has grown into such a big display and a fun holiday for him (and us)!
December 2015 was the month I accepted the Children’s Director position here at church and resigned from my previous position. This career-changing move turned out to be even better than I ever expected. I am loving every minute of my time here and I’m so thankful that I followed through with that difficult decision. I will always remember December 2015 as being a month full of careful discernment (and the month we got a new puppy)!
December 2016 was the month that my last living grandparent, Nanny passed away. It was a hard month for all of us. Trying to manage and honor grief in the midst of a month of celebrating certainly had its challenges and blessings. I remember attending the Festival of Carols dress rehearsal because it was going to be the first year (in many years) that I would miss the performance (and, for me, it’s not Christmastime unless I attend Festival of Carols). I remember being at Nanny’s bedside just days before she passed as she and I shared a hot fudge Sundae together – her favorite treat! I remember buying a hummingbird ornament to add to my mantle (because she loved hummingbirds WAY more than redbirds).
December 2018 will now be known as the month that our now 14 year old son made the difficult decision to stop playing baseball (after playing baseball for 11 years of his life). He came home in mid-December and said that he was loving band SO much that he wants to completely focus on playing his drums and no longer play baseball. I am so proud that he came to this decision on his own and gave it so much thought and consideration and we are eager to see where his path goes from here. This will be the first December in many years that we haven’t been out purchasing baseball equipment for his Christmas gift. It will now also be known as the December that I retired my cute “Baseball Mom” hat for a cute “Band Mom” hat.
Each year I grieve, I celebrate, and I remember all of the big changes that December tends to bring to our house. I also do my very best to make sure that all of those December memories (the happy and the sad) don’t overshadow the hope, love, joy and peace of Advent and Christmas. I pray that this is true for years to come!