On Christmas morning 2020, the three kids exclaimed, “Mom, this is the best Christmas ever!” Isn’t that what every mom wants to hear? It was awesome. But, it also sent me into a tailspin. Why was this one different? COVID could have certainly played a part, but I didn’t think so. It hadn’t changed much for us as a family. My sister’s family still visited. There were too many gifts. The stocking contents were similar. So, what was it?
A clue came a bit later when the oldest now 18 said to his brother, “Did you notice people laughing today?” Yes. Why, yes, I had. It was the most glorious sound, ever. It was evidence of healing. It was evidence that we didn’t fall completely apart as a family.
Four Christmas’ ago, on December 23rd, we learned of my husband’s diagnosis. It’s a terminal condition called FTD. This horrible news will always be tied to the holidays.
Two Christmas’ ago, we reached one of the lowest points as a family. We’ve dubbed it “the Christmas we shall not speak of.” My oldest son was hurting, was scared, was angry as hell. He rejected every present and lashed out about every gift. I cried. All day.
One Christmas ago, my husband had been placed in memory care three months prior. We were still finding our way from that difficult decision.
This Christmas, it was different. Maybe it was because Mom is different. Mom is calmer. Mom is happier. Mom has been working on herself. Mom is healing, too. Mom is letting go of the guilt. Mom is finding her way, holding it together, and reclaiming herself. The kids gave Mom the greatest gift of all this year. Hope. Hope that we can enjoy Christmas, again, as a family. Merry Christmas, Mom.