Thursday, January 18, 2024

Christmas 2023...It Was Fine

Well, it wasn't the best Christmas I've ever had, but it certainly wasn't the worst. As the title of this post says, it was fine. Three stars out of five. 😄

The eve of Christmas Eve 

Two days before, on Friday night into most of Saturday, Sam was pretty sick with a cold, but (somewhat miraculously) he was much better on Christmas Eve and was able to go to church and my mom's house that day just fine. But because he wasn't feeling well and because John was out for much of the day, it was a quiet day on Saturday, and I felt kind of alone. I used the time to set up the boys' big gift in the basement--a wrestling mat! This was a very generous gift on my part; they better use it!

The basement has now officially been taken over by their things—wrestling mat, ping pong table, weight set, air hockey table, big Lego rollercoaster, and more. It's a good thing I was able to get a place with a basement (or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it 😄).

That evening, John and I went to see the Christmas lights at the Fatima Shrine. We met my mom and sister and John's friend Ben there. It was nice to get out in the fresh night air and see the festive lights illuminated against the darkness. 

Check out this huge tree!

That evening the boys and I had a Christmas movie night and watched Elf, which we always get a kick out of!

Christmas Eve

Sunday was busier than I like Christmas Eve to be, but it was good to go to church and it was fun to get together with family at my mom's house. It was an unusual Christmas Eve because of those things. Normally I like to spend my favorite day of the year entirely at home. I felt a little "off" too, kind of melancholy. I think it was partly because if all goes according to plan, this will be John's last Christmas with us for the next two years. I'm excited for him to go on a mission, but I'm going to miss him so much, especially for things like holidays. The other reasons, I'll go into later in this post. Plus, fluctuating hormones may or may not have been involved as the cherry on top. 😭

I was pretty bad at taking pictures for Christmas Eve and Christmas. Again, I think it's because I felt a little out of it. This is just about the only picture I took at my mom's house, where we had a nice ham lunch in the afternoon, followed by gifts and game-playing.

Jennifer happened to have a bunch of glasses next to her at the table, and we thought it was funny how it made her look like a big drinker (of the non-spirited variety, of course 😉).

That evening, the boys and I had our traditional pot roast dinner (it was delicious!), followed by reading the nativity story from the scriptures and then each of us opening a present. Look at how few pictures I took of these things, and how not great they are! 

After that the boys wrestled, and I did take better pictures of that. Little did they know that they were getting a nice cushy mat the next morning to do this very thing on!

Well that's an interesting position! 😆

More traditions that I love: I watched It's a Wonderful Life! and then played Santa.


I woke up with a sore throat on Christmas and had hardly any appetite for the rest of the day after we ate our traditional special breakfast (bacon, cinnamon rolls, fruit salad, etc.). Before breakfast, we opened our gifts, which weren't too many because of the big one waiting downstairs, which they didn't know about yet.

Again, my pictures are not impressive. Here's Violet with her special treat.

 I got Sam a tortilla blanket (he likes tortillas and blankets) and he wrapped himself right up in it like a burrito for much of the morning. Success!

Once the presents were all opened, I told the boys that there might be one more downstairs. They were excited to discover the mat, and they quickly got down to business with it! 

But first Sam slipped and fell on it 😄

And then they "wrastled"...

Needless to say, after the boys left in the late morning, it was very quiet. I spent the rest of the day on the couch drinking Sprite for my throat (the fizziness felt good), reading, and napping. This is how I normally like to spend Christmas, minus the sore throat and the abundance of Sprite (which worked, because the next day, I was pretty much back to normal). 

The feelings and the analysis (haha)

Ohhhh, the feelings. This was my first Christmas being divorced, so it was a little sad for me. I don't want to be with my ex-husband again (ever), but I was missing Christmases past when things were good and my marriage was happy and secure and my family felt complete. I unexpectedly found myself mourning the loss of both what had been and what could have been. I leaned into it and didn't try to brush it off, which I've learned through experience is the way to do it—let yourself feel the feels, even when it's hard. It's the healthiest way to deal with and process emotions, and then you can move on more easily.  

I was also struggling with uncertainty (which is something I should be used to by now). I don't know what my future holds—will I be spending all, many, some, or few of my future Christmases on my own, or will they be spent with the true and forever love of my life, whoever he is? I don't know, and the uncertainty of not knowing was getting to me. I prayed about it and turned my sadness over to the Savior by focusing on Him and His promises and on the blessings and miracles I've experienced amid my trials over the last few years. It really helped. I felt comforted and I felt better. I have faith and trust in Heavenly Father's plan for me and that everything will work out for the best as I continue to keep my covenants and live righteously. And I don't keep my covenants and live righteously so that things will work out the way that I want; I do those things because I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and I have a bedrock-solid belief in its truth.
So I've just got to chill. Which I'm usually good about doing, but the holidays sure can do a number on the emotions. 😩

So, it was a fine Christmas. Not the best, not the worst. It was the first one in our new home and probably the last one with John being with us until 2026. No matter what does or doesn't happen in our lives, I'll always be most thankful of all for the blessing of a Savior and Redeemer who was born in humble circumstances over 2,000 years ago, and who will return to the earth again in the greatest power and glory imaginable in what I believe is the not-too-distant future, and in the meantime is with me every day of my life. I love Him with all of my heart, might, mind, and soul. 💖💚🤍