Today started off with our normal routine of coffee, a walk and then breakfast. Afterward hubby brought in all the Christmas boxes from our storage area so I could start unpacking and decorate the tree.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with one of our daughters in South Carolina. It was a truly beautiful day with lots of good food and conversation. Lots of children there, too, which always makes it fun.
Today I talked with my son. He spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta with his wife’s family. They are a wonderful group of people and I know they had a great time and a lot of wonderful food as well.
Today I chose the Martina McBride Christmas channel on Pandora — decorating is much nicer with Christmas music. I love the mix of music on this station so it was perfect.
Hubby helped me start the lights because the tree is just too tall for me. I unpacked boxes and pulled out more lights so we could see if we had enough to go around the tree. Once the lights were low enough for me to reach he went back outside and I continued the lights.
All was going well until “How Great Thou Art” came on. I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. It is a song that touches me in ways I cannot fully explain. When my mother died, that song ran through my head as I flew back to Ohio where I was stationed while in the Air Force. I remember writing my Dad a letter on that flight and somewhere I have packed away the letter he wrote to me in return. This song brings the memory front and center.
As I unpacked decorations, my life from the time I was a child, until the time when my children were growing up through our life as we gained six grandchildren and all the way to this time of retirement poured out in abundance. I was overwhelmed with — not sadness — but a great wave of emotion for all the people who have come and gone in my life and those still here but yet so far away.
I was starting to struggle…
Thankfully, my daughters and my granddaughter video chatted me on Facebook. It was such a great lift. For most of the Christmas seasons in the 22 years since hubby and I were married, they were with us. We shopped together, had Christmas coffees together, and talked ‘nunya’s’ from Thanksgiving until Christmas when we would celebrate together. Now they have a daughter and seeing her enjoy the first Christmas she can somewhat understand is amazing.
Retirement can be a lonely time sometimes and tonight I am a little melancholy. Putting up the tree and decorating is always emotional for me. Our tradition has always been a ‘memory tree’. When we hang the ornaments, each one is named for someone who has passed on or simply someone we love who just cannot be with us at Christmas. I have not started the ornaments yet. It is always an emotional time for me. So, why do I put myself through it?
I do it because the love I have been fortunate enough to experience in my life is worth the remembering and the tears. After the ornaments are hung, each time I pass the tree, I will think of and remember those people whom I love and miss so much.
I am Blessed
The early part of the Christmas season is always this way for me. I am so blessed and so thankful for everything I have in my life. We have much to look forward to this year. Two grandchildren’s birthdays are upcoming. We are going to see the lights at the North Carolina Arboretum with our daughter and her family. We also have a Christmas band concert and a piano recital to attend as well.
So, dear readers, I will love and enjoy this Christmas season as I always have. It holds every memory about where I come from, who I have been and who I am today. For me, it is symbolic of the faith I hold close and all of those things bring me great joy. I just need to get through this part. The tearful, wonderful and sacred memories of all the people I hold so dear to my heart.
And to my children. When I text too much or call too much just know it is because I am missing you. I am so thankful that each of you has full and meaningful lives, but it does not make me miss you any less. That’s the stuff that moms’ hearts are made of.
“Christmas is not a date on a calendar. It’s more than a state of mind. It’s a condition of the heart.”