DECEMBER 26, 2015
Every year Christmas-time is one of the most amazing and magical times of the year. From the second Halloween is over, our house is fully decorated and decked out in Christmas. Yes… we are THAT type of family. And we keep everything up until mid-January. I am the mom that starts Christmas shopping in July. Every year our family takes a week long vacation to some Southern California attraction. We spoil our kids and have a great time. It is our favorite time of year.
Last year was our hardest, though. It was the first year we had struggled financially. It was the first year our twins were home. It was memorable and magical, but, man, it was rough. It was the first time we didn’t go on a family vacation. But we understood. We all knew why. Our kids understood. They knew why. No one complained because it was a magical Christmas.
This year was the same. Although I am not “unemployed”, I’m not working right now. My son needs me home 24/7. I am his full time caretaker. Matthew qualifies for nursing, but because of two mishaps with two different nurses, we opted out of having a nurse. I was trained by my son’s hospital and nursing staff to care for my son. I take the best care of him. And we all KNOW that mama does it best!!
This Christmas was highly anticipated. The twins were crawling and walking all over the place. The girls knew we weren’t going on our family vacation, but they again understood. A one income family of 8 makes things a little tight. Last week, I received a call from a friend who works for a local organization and at the local Children’s hospital. She told me that our family was going to be sponsored for Christmas. I was in complete shock. She told me to have all the kids write down their top 10 things that they want for Christmas. I sent them off to her and she sent me updates on Santa’s Progress. It was really neat to be a part of something so magical. Something that our kids were going to remember for the rest of their lives. I will never forget the love and compassion that she and so many others have shown our family. Because of their encouragement, I have been able to get through the biggest hurdles.
On Christmas Eve, we celebrate by going over to our grandparents house to be with our extended family. There are about 40 – 50 of us at one time. Half of them are kids under 13. And the majority of the night was chaos. I, unfortunately, struggle with anxiety. I can only take so much of people. I don’t like crowds, I can’t stand being around rowdy and unruly kids or people for that matter. And the house that my grandparents live in is just way too small for so many of us. I was feeling really claustrophobic. I was getting hot flashes like I was an old lady, it was hard to take a deep breath, my head was hurting and my brain felt like it was spinning. Luckily… Matthew had to be at dialysis at 7am Christmas morning. Super early, I know… but that just meant that we had to leave my grandparents house early. YESSS…. but….as quickly as I was ready to leave, I suddenly felt so sad to leave. I didn’t want to leave Christmas early. I didn’t want the kids to have to leave Christmas. I didn’t want to leave… but I knew I had to. I couldn’t take it anymore. My anxiety was too much for me and I felt like I was going to explode. My mom and my sister know when I am struggling and they were gracious enough to offer to take our girls home later. So my husband and I left with the twins. And for me, it was the longest ride home. I was trying to calm myself down, I couldn’t help but cry because we left Christmas. My kids were still there enjoying themselves and I couldn’t stay. I was sad but I was relieved.
Usually after an anxiety attack it takes me about 30 minutes to recover. My husband knew I needed some time to myself and he is always so awesome about it. When I need my space, I NEED my space. I took a shower, I cried while I was in there and I then I got out and was all better. I was home. I was in my comfort zone. I was in my safe zone. In my home, there is peace and I was better. I felt better.
A couple hours later, the rest of the kids came home and we allowed them all to open their presents. Crisis averted… Christmas was ahhhhmazing. Each kid got everything they wanted. It was truly magical and a huge blessing. We didn’t think we were going to be able to give these kids the Christmas they deserve, but we are blessed. The Lord always always always provides. It felt like everything we have gone through throughout this year… it was all worth it to have these magical moments. I find myself using that word magical a lot, but I just can’t help it. It was magical.
We all sat in a circle as a full and complete family and gave thanks to God for all He has done for our family. We then fell asleep to Charlie Brown Christmas. It was another end to a highly anticipated, nothing like we thought or had planned magicalChristmas.
Merry Christmas everyone. May you all have an amazing blessed Christmas.
Here are a couple of my favorite Christmas photos.