Why, yes, that IS a stool on a chair, decorated as a Christmas tree!

So it is a few minutes before 10pm on New Years Eve, 2012.

 

My husband, two small children, and 9 week old puppy have all been asleep for nearly two hours (we’ve had the flu).

 

I just finished off a full bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider all by myself, because no one else could keep their eyes open long enough to ring in the new year with me…and quite frankly, I’m about to fall out, myself. I’m not gonna lie…I drank straight from the bottle. And it was good.

 

It’s a wild and rowdy life we live here in our 30’s, I tell you what. We are really living on the edge.

 

Actually, that’s not too far from the truth of the matter. We have had quite the turbulent past 14 months, to put it lightly. I recently posted this on my Facebook page:

 

“So, to recap, In the past year:

I have had meningitis and encephalitis through Thanksgiving, Hadley’s 5th birthday, and Christmas, which kept us from being with family

I had a friend decide I was lying about being sick and totally ban me from her life (granted, she’s a little nuts, but it was still sad)

My parents moved really far away

Matt lost his job

I had to quit my job

We had to rent out our house and move to Northern Va with my parents

We discovered that Hadley has some kind of tic disorder, most likely Tourette’s or OCD and probably a learning disorder and hates school

I was diagnosed with OCD, ADD, anxiety, and Vit D deficiency after being sick on the couch for a month (apparently vit D is pretty important) and potentially a connective tissue disorder

We had to put both our dogs to sleep

The children and I all got the flu for Christmas so I can’t see my brother, his wife, and sweet baby from Oregon until we stop being contagious

I think this picture of our poor Christmas tree on the porch, knocked over by the wind, and snowed on today, Christmas Eve, is a perfect image for this year. It is sad bc our tree never got decorated or in the house after being removed for Hadley’s birthday party. It is awesome bc it is covered in snow- our first snow and white Christmas!

Every one of these things this year brought pain and sadness but also joy and gladness in one way or another.”

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The tree just didn’t fit this year…some years are like that.

We actually were so sick with the flu on Christmas Eve that we decided to pretend it wasn’t. Christmas Day was a bit depressing. We were overwhelmed and ready to just crawl into bed and be sick.

Hadley felt like it wasn’t Christmas without a tree, and felt inspired to create one…Christmas chairs must be in his blood! 😉 With renewed excitement, I drug my achy, tired self to help him create a Christmas tree for us to enjoy.

Matt groaned from the kitchen for me not to post it on Facebook, and when I told him that I thought it was a beautiful symbol of resilience and joy in the moment, no matter what the circumstances, Hadley spoke words of sweet innocence and wisdom.

“Daddy, Christmas isn’t about ‘getting’ – it’s about being together with family.”

That being just about the very LAST thing we expected to hear from our 6 year old the night before Santa comes, we were reminded how blessed we were. We weren’t ALONE…we were TOGETHER. Our hearts warmed, we snuggled up to read “The Grinch” together…which was actually very fitting…in front of our Christmas Chair…and yes, that is a Santa on top of a stool, covered with lights, standing on a chair, draped with a tree skirt. 😉

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Tonight, a week later, with the flu still lingering in the house, my sweet Hadley spoke more encouraging words of wisdom. After Daddy, Afton, and Hazel (she’s the new puppy!) had fallen asleep in our big bed together, Hadley and I lay awake whispering together about life’s greater mysteries. (We have a big bed.)

I told him that today is the very last day of the year 2012, and that when he wakes up in the morning it will be the very first day of the year 2013. Being 6, he thought that was pretty awesome.

Feeling peaceful about the joy we have found amidst the pain and frustration of the year, I asked him what his favorite memories from the year were. He said seeing snow.

He said moving near family.

Turning 6.

Going to Kindergarten, even though he hates it.

He said being with me.

and then he said the most profound words of the evening…

“So long 2012! We are moving on to another story.”

When I look back at the past 14 months, I am reminded of the words of Michelangelo:

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

and

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

We started our marriage, and life together with a block of stone, and proceeded to pile on more rocks and dirt, trying to make a stable foundation. After 8 years, we had moved 9 times…so there wasn’t much moss growing on our rolling stone, but it was still just a big rock…and we wanted to make it bigger.

Snuggling in my bed tonight with my little family, fever ridden, grumps and all…I saw the beautiful work of a Master Sculptor. Just when it feels like every thing has been stripped away, and you have very little left of your block of stone, you can finally see the beautiful image that was hiding inside.

We have all that we need. There is no magic in the turning of a year, and I don’t expect an easy road ahead, but it is nice to have a marker on the journey.

So long 2012! We are moving on to another story.

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