Sunday, November 30, 2008

On With Christmas!

I'm a happy girl. I'm almost done shopping. And Thanksgiving is over. Bring on Christmas!

This past holiday was a rough one for me. All of November was spent being depressed for several reasons. The gray weather. The 21st anniversary of my father's death (two days after Thanksgiving). I have written about this before and I had hoped this year would be different. It wasn't. And it doesn't help much that my mother-in-law's father died on Thanksgiving as well (years and years ago). Too many reminders, know what I mean.

We always get together with Todd's family. This year brought an adorable new baby who cried through most of the dinner, a newly married happy couple (complete with slide show on computer - I cried!) though the new husband is apparently extremely allergic to dairy, and a family in the process of splitting up. The wife was there, putting on a brave face (she's tough on the outside) but did break down at one point, at least in my presence. Her teens were there, one an A-student, hard-working kid headed for college, the other a problem kid, substance abuser but getting help - he actually seemed happier than I've seen him in a long, long time. My heart goes out to this part of the family.

And then there's me, dreading this day for weeks, managed to get my kids ready (I'm learning how to handle Carmen's stubbornness when it comes to dressing nice!) and Todd even got to sleep a bit between work shifts. Yes, he had to work the day before and that night. We ate dinner, had pie and took him home to go to work. I decided to go back with the kids and we enjoyed that time but it got us home too late. I'm still tired.

God did answer my prayers, though. I enjoyed myself and laughed so much my face hurt (this is a sure sign I'm having fun). There wasn't one person there that I didn't want to see - they are all very nice people. And they like me. I'm so blessed to have married into this family. Perhaps next year I will be able to avoid the dark cloud that overshadows this holiday and focus on the blessings God has given me.

What I do look forward to is the day after Thanksgiving - shopping at our local toy store (20% off!) Alas, I slept through my alarm and didn't get there until 8:45 a.m. but perhaps it was better - the rush (all 30 people - this IS a small town!) is earlier than that so all in all, it was fine. I took the kids back later to buy gifts for each other. I have this down to a science.

So, now, we are preparing for Advent tomorrow night. It's something we all look forward to as it makes a bit of Christmas happen every evening. I'm so glad I started this tradition years ago. Carmen is really excited this year, which makes me happy. She's not always been so willing to participate - maybe this year she'll actually sing with us!

Oh, at Thanksgiving, my cousin had an Iphone (or something like that) and we were able to Google Earth to see my friend Paula's home (appleleaf) in Australia! Amazing! If only it wasn't so far away!


Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

So glad you had a nice Thanksgiving despite all of the bad memories attached to this time of year.

What a huge blessing to be married into a sweet family.

Mama Self said...

We didn't shop on Friday because almost all our presents are already purchased and we had guests in town, but my husband LOVES all the Christmas hub-bub (sp?). We head off to dollar tree for the kids to buy for each other that way even the youngest can afford to buy something for his siblings.

Glad your Thanksgiving was fun, albeit tiring. We are truly blessed, aren't we? And although recalling your father's passing is hard, you continue to honor him by remembering. God bless.

Leingang Family said...

Hope you have a blessed Advent season.

appleleaf said...

Those face-hurting laughs are the best. You must have funny, funny in-laws. But I hope everyone's lives will be smoother by next Thanksgiving.
Thanks for paying me a virtual visit while there's still some spring greenery to be seen. I wish it wasn't so far away too and would LOVE to make the trip across the Pacific some time.
PS I'm glad the parcel arrived safely.