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a year to remember

Yesterday, we began taking all of our Christmas decorations down. Out of nowhere in the middle of the cleaning and packing, tears came over me. 

You know, every month that passed in 2016 was bitter sweet. We would celebrate another milestone of your life. Our miracle. Our final baby that God blessed us with. And each month, it was hard for me. Because, no matter what with you, everything felt so fast. And all the emotions felt magnified a bit. It's hard to put in words, but if you've been there you know. When you've dreamed of something so long and prayed so hard and then you are living that dream.. you want to soak every breath in and then some. 

Well December came and surprisingly I wasn't anxious about your first birthday. I was so in the moment of the season and grateful for everything we'd been through. The celebration of it all was so beautiful. The reminders all month of Christ and His gift to us. 

And then yesterday, as I put everything away it hit me unexpectedly. The year. Your first year. It was over. And for those moments I mourned a bit. I know. I have so much to be abundantly grateful for. But I felt a bit of loss. So many firsts, milestones, beautiful moments came flashing through my memory. And for that time. I let myself grieve that yes it had passed. 

But the story doesn't end there. No. There is hope and anticipation of all things new. Yes, time has a way of passing quickly. And I feel like the older each of you get, the faster the years fly by. I can grieve this, or I can keep trying to be in the moments with each of them, learning more about love and grace daily. I am certain, I will choose the later.


Today, I am giving myself grace for those moments of grief. As selfish as they felt, I needed that time. 



a beautiful reminder

"I was faced with a dilemma - one so many of us face quite often; I could either wrestle my life and my kids and my house and our Christmas into something fantastic; something perfect... Or I could plant myself down right in the middle of the mess and realize that the mess is actually my life, the only one I'll ever get, the one I'm in danger of missing completely, waiting around for fantastic. That Christmas I chose to be present over perfect, and that's still what I choose today"-Shauna Niequist

I was watching the sun stream through the windows this weekend while she was taking a bath. I remember last year this time. Looking out this space; which at the time was a torn apart kitchen under construction. It was the start of the holiday season. It was also the start of me going on bed rest. The start of what would eventually become pre eclampsia and another premature birth. 

Those days were difficult; yet a year later I look back with such gratitude. I felt like my whole world was a mess. We couldn't cook or do laundry in our home for months. I was going to weekly doctor appointments and in and out of the hospital for observation; all of you were with us for almost every appointment. I felt like I was letting our family down. I couldn't go out and do Christmas activities. I couldn't decorate or bake or do the things I loved to do with you.
Through it all, love poured from so many. Our church provided meals for us. Mita took our laundry and lovingly cleaned our clothes. I'll never forget the day that Mimi showed up and decorated our home. Hallmark Christmas movies played a lot and we spent time as a family snuggled in bed, doing all I could to stay healthy. 

We were together. 

It was a time that is normally busy but became unusually slow. It was a beautiful reminder in being present and together. I pray that I can take that slow and infuse it into our Christmas each year. I don't want to try and orchestrate a pretty picture of some perfection that doesn't exist. I want to cherish these days and hold onto what this season is truly about and I don't want to miss the light that He has so graciously brought into my life.