2 days till Christmas... I have cried every day for at least the past 2 weeks, knowing that it's going to suck. I just want to DO IT ALREADY and put this check mark on my to-do list of "things to get through for the first time without Dad." I'm hoping that the expectations are worse than the actual experiences; kind of like childbirth. (hahahahahaa. That was a joke because HOLY SHIT, childbirth was kind of like the 7th circle of hell) (But I'd do it again in a heartbeat because the reward is pretty freaking awesome).
2016 has been kind of a collection of AMAZINGLY AWESOME moments mixed in with pain unlike anything I'd ever considered possible. I had some of the best experiences, including a surprise 40th birthday party, a long-awaited dream trip to New Orleans with Patrick, a special 10th birthday trip with Corinne and a surprise trip to L.A. with Justin, and just so much joy, that you would think 2016 would have gone down as The Best. But then LTYM announced it was ending, a dear friend moved away, my child had some serious friend issues, a special little girl was diagnosed with a life changing condition, another special girl nearly died and continues to struggle every day, the Anti-Christ was elected the president of our country, my dad went through 4 months of hell before dying a week before Thanksgiving... it's just been a little too much Bad to balance out the Good.
I'm trying, though. I'm trying to focus on everything I have that makes me happy...
Evan is playing rock music on his electric guitar as I type, and that brings me joy. He's so talented and is really dedicated to it. I love to see him excelling in music. As usual, he continues to revel in his role as the family clown, and his jokes/wit have actually gotten me through some pretty crappy moments this year. One of his "Evanisms" of 2016: "Whoa, you put up a lot of Christmas lights! I guess you could say our house is pretty 'lit.' " (executed with an awesome sense of timing and tone.) I wish I had had enough forethought to record more of them as I have in the past, but life has just been about survival lately. It's enough to remember that his humor has helped me immensely.
Corinne has truly matured this year, in academics and athletics, but also in her kindness and heart. Seeing her grow into such a lovely young lady is both rewarding and heartbreaking. One of her greatest strengths is her generosity and understanding of what others need in a moment of difficulty. She is still our baby and is happiest when the entire family is home, eating dinner together.
This is Justin's last Christmas as a "kid." For years, I thought my focus this year would be on how sad I am over his impending adulthood status, but instead, I am just happy that the five of us are here and healthy and relatively happy. I am so grateful that he has found a niche of people at school and in the gaming community to connect with. Seeing him excel at League of Legends (it's a computer game that is an eSport. Don't ask me to explain it to you) was something akin to watching your child who played an outdoor sport for their whole childhood finally be recognized in public for their skills. I've yet to meet an adult who doesn't say to me "He's a really cool person!" Also, Justin is an AMAZING cook. Like, holy crap, how did we not know this about him? I honestly cannot stress how much pride I take in his culinary skills. I have great hopes for him and for our future family dinners at his house. :)
Wish us luck this weekend. My intention is to let the sadness in, grieve for him and send him love, and then to enjoy and be present in the moments I have with the people I love. Hug your loved ones this holiday season. Look into their eyes and tell them you love them - let them see you and actually hear you. Take the mental snapshots of the joy, even in the midst of the pain.
I am blessed. Merry Christmas to you all.
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