Last weekend I really wanted to find some Christmas spirit. I looked long and hard. We (and when I say "we" I mean Manny) pulled out boxes. I stared at what was inside of them. Nope. It wasn't there.
And I know spirit isn't about things, it's about a message. It's about the birth of Jesus Christ. It's about family and loved ones. I know all this. But having some twinkly lights up and a Christmas tree strewn with decorations sure does help build that spirit. Alas, it all felt very overwhelming.
Not realizing a pretty fierce cough and cold were brewing, I chalked it up to me just being a Grinch. Then I was mad at myself for not providing my kids with happy - twinkling lights - cookies baking - Christmas memories. Not only was I having a hard time feeling Christmas spirity, but I was also mad at myself for it. Double downer.
Then it finally hit me. Sunday night, around 8:30PM. I took full advantage and hung up lights, pulled out decorations, and started proving to myself that I, in deed, had some spirit. When it hits you, you can't let that stuff go. Hello, one o'clock in the morning.
Over the past few days, through coughing and sneezing and sniffling, I've found the Christmas spirit. And I have a living room full of lights to prove it.
At this point I like to play the This Time Last Year game. This Time Last Year we were embarking on the Ketogenic Diet. I have to say that it was probably one of the hardest times of our journey, thus far. Not only did it not take flight as we'd hoped and prayed, but Christian did not respond well, physically, and he was pretty miserable for a good part of it. We were pretty much home bound. We couldn't go many places as a family, he wasn't up for it. And even if I didn't express it at the time, it was a dark time for me.
I couldn't understand why, after we had tried everything in our power, weren't we getting the answers and results we wanted. I couldn't understand why we were taking these paths that seemed so perfect it was if God had created those paths just for Christian. Maybe He did. But they seemed like dead ends.
I still don't know what purpose those paths served but I learned a lot from those paths. I learned a lot about what is in our power to do for him. I learned that, dammit, he is just bound and determined to create his own path. He is not going to be like any other child. Sounds simple enough, but we wanted him to be like other children, the success stories, the kids who's seizures were stopped completely due to the keto diet.
That dark time, This Time Last Year, was really necessary looking back. Because it brought me to a path of acceptance. Of course, we want Christian to improve and learn, but most of all we want him to be happy. That is most of all. We accept him. It's taken some time to get here, but we accept the boy God is giving us every day and we accept our life. We embrace it.
Acceptance has given us a sense of freedom. It's given us freedom to move forward as we are right here and right now. In comparison with last year, this is the greatest Christmas gift. It's the source of our Christmas spirit.
Acceptance also comes with a realization that every day is a gift. And every good day, where Christian is up for an adventure? Well, that's cause for celebration. So, if there is a parade, we're going. If there is a race, we're running. If there is a neatly wrapped gift, hand over hand, Christian and I will rip it open with reckless abandon. There is man made snow in the mall courtyard this weekend, it's time to get cold! (But only for a little bit, because we're babies like that.)
My point is that acceptance has allowed us to see each day as a greater gift than the previous. It has allowed us to recognize and appreciate any opportunity for joy because one day, it's inevitable, those opportunities will run out.
Christmas spirit is coming easier and easier. And it's all the more when Lola looks at those lights I hung from the ceiling and says, "Piiity, Mama!" (That's Lola language for "pretty"). And Christian can stare up at the ceiling, too, when he's on his back. Gabe's contribution? He was nice enough to sit and watch Elf with his ol' Mom for a little bit. But only for a little bit. And don't tell his friends.
During the Christmas spirit frenzy (also referred to as decorating), I learned we didn't have a tree topper. I searched far and wide (Walmart and Target) and didn't find one good enough that I actually wanted to spend money on.
We were already displaying this as part of our Christmas decorations and Manny suggested we put on top of our tree.
They say words have power...
I think it's appropriate.