A Different Christmas


I wrote this post a couple of nights ago, and I hesitate to post it because I try to keep it light & cheery here, but then I realized that it will be good to remember in years to come. So here it is –

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting in the living room near the Christmas tree, and I’m noticing that there’s an entire section of the tree that is no longer lit. Excellent. Pre-lit trees for the win, right? Right.

That about sums up the past 24 hours. There’s something about Christmas that begs for repetition. Sameness. Tradition. Nothing amiss. Everything should be perfect. Just as it always is.  And yet life most certainly is never the same, is it? It’s been a tough 24 hours for my side of the family, and it only seems to be worse because it’s Christmas.

My poor mom. She has had the lion’s share of hardship the past six months. You may have read previously how she suffers from vasculitis, a rare autoimmune disorder that affects small veins and capillaries. It’s a chronic thing that flares up and she’s been trying to recover from a flare since June. Then seemingly everything has gone to pot the last few weeks as she also struggled to recover from falling down some stairs (never good) and then on top of it all? She got shingles. Painful, debilitating shingles.

Our family celebrates Christmas a couple of days earlier so that way we don’t have to be rushed and can truly enjoy each other. So it was quite distressing when my sister texted on Friday to say that they were headed to the ER because Mom’s pain was so severe that they didn’t know what to do. Plus, she was really disoriented and pretty confused, which is super scary. The ER kept her for awhile and gave her pain meds, but ended up sending her home, much to our surprise. She was definitely not ok. The meds made her loopy and so out of it. I don’t even know if she recognized us.  So there we all were, quietly creeping into her room to sit with her, and I’m not gonna lie – it was terrible. Scary. You just don’t ever want to see your momma like that. It is a peculiar kind of agony to watch your loved ones suffer. I’m watching her suffer. I’m watching Dad suffer because Mom is suffering. And we’re all suffering because we just want her to be ok. We want EVERYTHING to be OK. To be normal. To be as it should, especially on Christmas.

On Christmas Eve morning, after another terrible night, my poor exhausted Dad decided to take Mom back to the ER as she was clearly not ok. We all sighed with some relief. But then, there we were. All of us together, but not really all of us. We ate a sad lunch that Dad has gotten for us and there was a heaviness in the room that was palpable.

But despite all this longing for my Mom, I found there to be a great solace in two things. One: even though things feel out of control and like we don’t know what to do, God does know what to do. He knows what’s happening and He is still in control.  Two: when I want my Mom the most, it comforts me to know that I’m now somebody’s mom. Jude needs me just like I still sometimes need my mom. Holding my baby boy and loving on him just like my Mom would do makes me feel close to her.

Update: Mom came home from the hospital on Christmas Day and now we’re working on keeping her comfortable and pain-free, or at least pain-minimized. We spent Christmas Day with Simon’s side of the family and now on Monday we’re headed back out to Mom & Dad’s to help out. Thanks to all who have offered prayers on Mom’s behalf!  Ok, a few photos from Friday and Saturday —

The number 1 thing Jude asked for for Christmas? A Flynn Rider doll – he’s the hero in Tangled and Jude thinks he’s the bomb. Does anybody say The Bomb anymore?


Speaking of Tangled and Rapunzel, my niece has such gorgeous long hair.



One of my nephews got a bird for his birthday this year and they’ve named him/her Rooster.


Pompoms make the best snowballs! Even black ones. 🙂


The best thing about holidays when we all get to stay together is when the cousins get to be snuggled up on the air mattress in the living room.


I entitled this photo “FAME! I’M GONNA LIVE FOREVERRRRR!”



This was the yummiest chocolate cake I’ve had in ages.



with love,

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