Christmas has come and gone.
The holidays brought all the seasonal requirements: lovely gifts, power outages, snow drifts, warm fires, tasty treats, road trips and family fun.
Our holiday road started with a trip to Fort Smith for the first round of Christmas. Growing up an only child I am always in a state of awe to see a family of five do up the event. With everyone married, a few kids here and there and Grandparents, aunts, etc. popping up, this season opener has become quite an event. It was amazing to have everyone together and we were lucky to have Emily and Justin in from New York.
Our next stop was to my parent's house. Everyone took turns holding Eli during an emotional Christmas Eve service. 2012 left us with big losses. Seeing little girls in glittery-gold angel wings acting out the Christmas story was at once lovely and crushing. And seeing my dad hold Eli and Jackson at communion for a blessing at once made me proud and heartbroken.
Jackson enjoys church and listened to the stories. For the most part, Eli did fairly well but a baby can only handle so many harp solos.
As snowflakes softly landed, the boys enjoyed opening gifts and being cozy by the fire. By morning we were chunking food into snow drifts and wondering when power would be restored. The winter wonderland was a first for Jackson. He'd never seen a world trapped in ice. We left angels and men in the snow.
By day two of off and on power surges we'd learned new camping skills and were naming Jackson's football Wilson.
Power outages be damned, my dad started boiling water over the fire as we all knew my coffee-less mom could only keep the Christmas spirit for so long. It was fun to layer up and thank goodness for family, fireplaces and a hot cup of joe.
Our next stop was Tennessee for a family reunion like no other. Eric's family knows how to ring in a new year. 2013 was welcomed with good music, good food, moonshine and some amazing dance moves. The annual family talent show included a father-son duet. Eric and Jackson sang and danced their way through Michael Jackson tunes. Jackson received his first family-reunion medal: the "dancing machine" award. It was Eli's inaugural Tennessee trip, and I was happy he was finally getting to meet all of Eric's family. It meant a lot that Grandma Jesse could officially meet him. But it stung to think that Omi would not.
This holiday had highs and lows but I dare not complain.
I just hadn't realized how happy I was to see 2012 end. When the clock struck midnight and our family embraced, I wasn't sure why I was crying. Relieved to let a year of loss go? Sad to leave the last year of these lives? Overwhelmed at how lucky we are?
I don't know.
I still don't know. Just moving on.
Home now and still playing catch up - stomach bugs, laundry and the Christmas tree are still staring me in the face.
We miss everyone. Always. Always.
It was a perfect whirlwind of holiday.