I wish I could say I love holidays as much as I am supposed to.
Hanging six stockings instead of seven and filling one less Easter basket is enough to make me want to pull the covers over my head and wake up once the fridge is full of leftovers. But I have a wonderful husband and four living children who would not dare let me stay in bed while their eyes are open, so I have learned to shape our holidays into what I can handle. I don’t have it in me to manage the craziness of big parties and the hustle and bustle of all the holiday happenings that were our life before. But Thanksgiving I can do. Actually I think I’m pretty good at it.
If there is one thing losing a child has taught me it is to be thankful.
I struggled with this in the beginning, the thought of being thankful when I was bitter and felt cheated out of a lifetime with my daughter, but her last breath left me with an understanding of the fragility of life that will forever change the way I cherish life around me.
I am thankful down to my toes to have a house full of living, breathing children because I know things could have turned out much differently. Of course there are days they push my patience to impressive limits but after every tantrum, mess or sibling argument there is a moment when my mind quiets and I remember I am lucky for the simple fact they are alive.
The gratitude I have for life is hard to explain. I have watched life stop when I had no idea it would, to watch it go on and on each day never ceases to amaze me.
When I put my kids down to sleep at night I am very aware of the fact there are moms out there who pass by a nursery they have never been able to use but can’t bear to take down. When my husband is running late from work I immediately run through my head to our last conversation to make sure I told him I loved him and the answer is always yes. I dish out the I love you‘s like candy in this house.
I used to worry how my children would be affected by having a mom who spent too much of their toddler years crying, but now I look back and hope I’ve maintained the conscious gratitude I had when our loss was so recent. They won’t remember the dishes piled in the sink while we were all playing hide-and-seek or that Mommy and Daddy ran to them a little too quickly if they got hurt because we were a tad on the paranoid side.
I think, at least I hope, that we have built our family with a contagious amount of love and gratitude and a deep appreciation for the fact that Thanksgiving is the one holiday we have in the bag.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, wishing you enough quiet moments to count your blessings.
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Beautiful post… i also spend my days being thankful for my girls! I wrote a post similar for thanksgiving! You have a beautiful family!
Holidays can be so bittersweet – thank you for this beautiful post. Sending hope and hugs to you and your family.
Been thinking of you lately and need to catch up on how you are doing. Hope you are doing okay. xo
Erin Janda Rawlings says
What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing!
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) says
Isn’t it funny how an outpouring of love manages to overcome insecurities?
Kathy at kissing the frog says
Lovely. Just lovely as usual. I often wonder how my children are affected by my grief, too, but like you I dish out the “I Love Yous” and kisses easily. I hope that’s what they will remember.
Sending hugs to you my dear! I empathize with this even though I can’t be exactly in your shoes. When you’ve lost a family member, there can sometimes be so much heaviness to sort through on holidays. My sister has been gone for 8 1/2 years now and I still struggle. Wishing you love and light. xoxo.
So good to hear from you. I think about you all the time. I can’t imagine going through the holidays after the loss of a sibling. Wishing you peaceful, stress-free, healthy days. xo
I am thankful you shared these beautiful, honest words today. This is the first Thanksgiving since my mom died, we live far from family and my husband has to work. These all make me sad but I am thankful for the legacy my mom left, that we have friends to spend the day with and that my husband has a job he loves.
Thinking of you during this first holiday season without your mom Robbie. It must be so difficult. Glad you are surrounded by friends and family.
I absolutely love this post, so perfectly said. We lost our little Dustin on January 3rd and then almost exactly one year later we had our little boy Brody on January 2nd. I try to separate the emotions, but they always get all mixed up. Especially since its all around the holidays I feel like a crazy emotional roller coaster. Wishing you peace this holidays season as you celebrate with your living children and remember your sweet daughter. xo
Wishing the same for you. The holidays are always such a bittersweet time, it must be even harder having birthdays and anniversaries so close to the dates as well. xo
Jessica, this is beautiful. Your commitment in that you “maintained the conscious gratitude” is one of the best gifts you can give your children. To all there is to be thankful for…