I might as well get it out there right away- this holiday season is going to be quite difficult. So much about the holidays for me revolves around family and to know that my Daddy will not be a part of them this year rips a hole in my heart all over again. I share my birthday this year with Thanksgiving Day. My dad never, NEVER, missed an opportunity to sing "happy birthday" to me. Last year he called and I didn't answer- he sang the whole thing on my voicemail. I remember thinking "I should totally save this." But I didn't. What I wouldn't give to still have that voicemail. Because we never lived around family growing up, Thanksgiving always meant just the four of us. My mom would make a feast made for 12 and we would eat for days :). It was quiet, quaint and special. And it was US. This year it's different. We have another new child to add. This year Halle Joy and Isabella will actually be eating at the kid's table. Markus and Katie will be fully feeding themselves and have much to say about everything they put on their plates. Mark and I and Boo and Dawn will be busy looking after kids and my Mom will be busy in the kitchen as always. But this year, she will not have my Dad to mash the potatoes. We will not have his ridiculous schedule that he writes the day before, planning when everything needs to be in the oven, for how long, at what temp, etc. He will not have the opportunity to make my Mom's eyes roll when he asks for "three fingers" of root beer in his frozen mug. Mom will actually get to take all the credit for an amazing meal; Dad usually got the credit simply because he would do the plating and that was the last thing people saw- him with his hands on their plate- so it was always assumed he was responsible for the meal. Us grown up kids will not share quiet laughter and stolen glances when Dad takes residence in "his chair" and sits in the way that always made us laugh at him. There will be moments where we forget that Dad is not there- and then we will spend the next hour fighting the guilt that comes at forgetting he is not there.
We will be together, but different. And Daddy will be missed.
It would be very easy for me to become extremely discouraged during this holiday season. But I am choosing today not to. I will choose instead to be thankful. Thankful that while this season will bring all sorts of sad firsts without Dad, there will be so many exciting firsts for our precious Zavion Michael. I will choose to be thankful, because I have three healthy, beautiful, amazing children and a husband that I fall more in love with each day. I will choose to be thankful because I live a drive away from my brother, sister and wonderful nieces. I will be thankful because we will spend the holidays together with my Mom- one of the most giving individuals I have ever known, and my Grandma- who a few years ago we never thought would see these days. I will be thankful because most importantly I have a God who remains by my side, encouraging me, teaching me, growing me and meeting me in my darkest of places.
My choosing thankfulness does not mean there will not be hard days. Hard moments. It doesn't mean there will not be times where I literally have to tell my feet to keep walking, one in front of the other. It doesn't mean that there won't be plenty of tears. But it does mean that I will keep perspective. Because in a season such as this, that is the best tool I have.
In light of all this, I am going to post things on here over the next few months that I am thankful for. Some will be humorous, some will be serious. But all will mean something to me, and will be another notch in my toolbelt of perspective.
And I will choose to be thankful.