Considering I haven't posted since the 23 of December, I figured it was about time for a new post!
Since I didn't post at all about Christmas, here is the not so "short version" :
Typically, when I host the holidays, I go all out. I cook for days and days ahead of time, I clean, I design, I bake, I shop/wrap, I decorate, and I look foward to spending time with loved ones. All of the Christmas preperations aside, the thing that I look foward to the most each year is spending Chrsitmas with my family. The laughter, the music, the cheer, prayers over Christmas dinner and remembering our Savior, the smiles on everyone's faces...that's what makes the holidays "magic" in my opinion. It really didn't feel like Christmas this year for me though. Christmas time has been a bit of a tough time for me over the past few years. Long story short, I left my very abusive, unfaithful ex husband the week of Christmas back in 2008. I literally told my entire family I was getting a divorce on Christmas Eve 2008 after I signed a lease on an apartment that morning, with my sister Kimmy by my side (she's seriously my rock!). I had secretly been staying at her house that week after my ex threatened to kill me. I had to move very quickly to get myself into a safer living arrangement because I was in danger, so I literally moved into my apartment on Christmas Eve and Chrsitams Day that year- needless to say, I wasn't exactly full of holiday cheer! That holiday seemed to drag by and was a very tough one. Despite it all though, I survived and grew stronger; best yet, when I was least expecting it and not even looking, God brought the most amazing man into my life, Jack. (It'll be two years this May!). Last Christmas (2009) I was soo afraid that something, no clue what, but just was terrified that something bad would happen and everything would just go wrong as well because of what I went through the previous year. Thankfully though, last Christmas was lovely, despite my unrealistic fears, I got to spend it surrounded with loved ones from my family and my sweet boyfriend, Jack's family. Last year I truly felt loved and blessed and it helpeed me understand that each year is new and there's something good to find in every situation.
In 2008, the blessing that came that Christmas was God giving me the strength to leave an abusive situation before it was too late for me. I was terrified at the time, but I knew that I could eithor leave, survive, and fight for myself, or I could stay in that situation and be hurt worse, cheated on time and again, or even killed.
In 2009, the blessing that came that Christmas was God allowing my family and I to have an amazing "cookie bake" with my Nannie. At the time, we did not know that it would be her last Christmas. I am soo happy that I got to spend those precious hours with her and my family. I am also glad that I learned that Christmas that it was a fresh start and not all Christmas's had to be a repeat of the tough times I experienced in 2008. Jack and his family made me feel soo loved and cherished and it was just wonderful to know that I could have a good experience again and focus on Christ's birth and the miracle of Christmas.
In 2010, the blessing that Christmas was that God allowed me to recognize that family isn't just flesh and blood- sometimes, our best "family members" are our beloved friends. Although this year left much to be desired (in the sense of my family's lack of appearce on Christmas), I am happy that I got to spend it with the people who showed that they truly care- Jacks' family, Jack, my dad, and my best friend, Renae.
This was my first Christmas without my Nannie (she passed away last Feb.), so that was already hard. Add on my family bailing out an hour beforehand, and it was also my first Christmas without any of the family I've grown up with - (my mom, my aunt, cousin,etc). On a brighter note, It was also my first Christmas EVER to spend with my father (who by the way is Jewish haha). My sister Kimmy and her kids went to visit her husband's family for Christmas, so Jack and I celebrated with them earlier in December. I'm glad we got to celebrate with them early at least, but it definitely wasn't the same without having all of her kids running around. My sister Monica along with my other nieces and their kids were planning on comming over for Christmas, but at the last minute the weather forecast looked nasty, so we didnt' want to risk them having a car wreck to get here, so the day before, we decided it was best if we met with them for New Years Day instead (and that turned out to be fun!). The rest of my family however (my own mother, aunt, cousin) cancelled not even an hour before they were supposed to arrive. I had really looked foward to hosting Christmas this year (it was planned out several weeks ahead of time and everyone agreed that it should be at my place, so I didn't mind volunteering my apartment for it). I was very hurt that my family I had spent every Christmas with since I was little (my mom especially), didn't even show. Our streets were not bad, and they even had the offer of Jack picking them up in his truck if they didn't want to drive themselves. Still, none of them came. You just don't do that to people. I had been cooking two days straight and was hosting, so that was really upsetting to see my apartment all decorated for everyone, and then to have such a let down occur. To make matters worse, my mom was supposed to bring the main dish (I had about a million desserts and side dishes made up, but she was responsible for the main dish, so since she didn't show, I had to come up with that as well with no notice). By the time Jack and I got back to my apartment (we had brunch with his family that morning) I was hurt, upset, and didn't feel like cooking much of anything else....soooooo, Christmas dinner included a ton of side dishes, and some lovely homemade spaghetti....yup, I made spaghetti for Christmas dinner...and you know what? It was delicious!
The ONLY family member who did not cancel on me for Christmas dinner was my father. I was soo relieved to have at least one of my relatives there with Jack and I when we sat down to eat! It was also the first Christmas I've ever celebrated with my father. I can't put into words how much that ment to me. It was an untraditional Christmas of sorts- I had none of the family I'd grown up with to celebate present, an untratidional meal, and none of my Chrsitmas traditions got carried out really. I have to say though, the Chrsitmas dinner that I spent with Jack and with my Jewish father, was one of the best meals that I've ever had. Not because of the cusine, but because of the company- Jack, the love of my life was there beside me, and so was my father. (When I was growing up, my father was non-existant and one of my few memories of him included him breaking into my mom's house and watching him punch her right in front of me, the next few times I saw him after that was in a court room. I went years without seeing him after that. As I've gotten older, I've learned there is more to the story than that breif version, but nontheless, I didn't have the traditional father many people do when I was growing up. Some people say that people can never change; I don't think that's right though. My father has changed inside, and it has been such a blessing to get to know him over the past few months. That's why forgiveness is such another wonderful Christmas gift in my opinion. I'm soo glad I gave him another chance to be in my life!) Honestly, one of the best Christmas "gift's" I've had this year is a realtionship with my father. For almost 25 years he was non-existant in my life. The past year he's changed soo much and has been there for me constantly.. People can and do change sometimes, and God giving me the gift of a father is really an awesome blessing and a wonderful gift this year. In a side note, I was also glad that all of the food I cooked for Christmas didn't go to waste. I was able to send a lot of it over to my Jewish family's home to spread cheer there as well with my Granny, my uncle, and my sister. They all got a kick out of the Christmas food too!
Christmas night was another untraditional blessing. I got to spend it with the man I love and with my best friend, Renae. We had all had a bit of a rough Christmas, so we decided that a funny movie was in order to cheer everyone up. I packed bags of homemade chex mix for all of us to sneak in, and we went to the movies to see "Little Fockers". It was hilarious, and just what we all needed to cheer us all up on a very untraditional Christmas! It may not have been the best Christmas this year because I was missing my family (I REALLY missed not having any of my family with me that I'd grown up sending Christmas with). However, it was a blessed Christmas because I was able to spend it with Jack's family (who treat me like their own), Jack, my father, and my best friend. You really find out who your friends are sometimes- and it ment the world to me that some of mine really stepped it up and were there to make Chrsitmas just a bit brighter.
(In a side note, I did finally get to see my mom, aunt, sister Monica (and nieces/great nieces/nephews) as well as my cousins for New Years Day- we were celebrating my niece, Jackie's marriage. I'm happy that I got to give my mom and aunt/cousin their gifts (better late than never). I'm also happy that I got to see the rest of my family, even if it wasn't on Christmas. Family time is something that should be cherished and celebrated. I hope that next Christmas is a little bit brighter and a bit more traditional though. If anyone asks me to host again however, the answer will definitely be: NO THANKYOU! ;)
~~ If you made it all the way through that post, you deserve a cookie! ~~