Well, our plans for the week’s festivities are all being penciled in with lots of eraser activity. Like everyone in the heartland, the weather forecast is feeling like a roulette wheel as we activate Plans A, B, C, D and throw in a dose of Mission Impossible theme music.
With John driving from Austin and us supposedly helping with kiddos on Thursday, all the while the weather forecasters are predicting high winds, sub-zero temps and snow…sigh…it’s not ideal as we roll into the main event of this countdown.
Maybe we are just getting older. Maybe we have been through so many Christmases that came with curve balls coming from all directions, but we just keep a couple of different lists going, have stocked the fridge for whoever is here whenever and kind of thrown our hands up asking God to give us all wisdom and we will take what we get, and pitch no fits.
In the early years of our marriage and parenting, we made the 8 hour trek to Iowa and the 5 hour drive to Louisville, alternating Thanksgiving and New Years with one and Christmas with the other every other year for a lot of years. Many years the roads were dicey and we often questioned our decision to hit the road.
After we moved to Galesburg, finding out I was pregnant with John shortly into the moving process, my parents came there for Christmas and we decided that we were done roadtripping for the holidays.
We had moved right after Thanksgiving that year and I do believe that while we limited our holiday travel after that, we added a fair amount of our own crazy to the holidays every few years.
Christmas 1996 we had purchased a new home on the east side of town, and closed just before Christmas Eve.
That night we went to a couple different drive thru fast food places to accommodate tastes, took some funky Christmas candles that we lit in the empty house that would be our new home and sat on the braided rug the previous owner had gifted us in the kitchen of our soon to be new home to share our first meal together there.
Santa came to the old house we still lived in and after the holiday, we packed up and moved to our new home. We lived there over two decades where we spent Christmases watching our family grow and change. We added and lost family members in a variety of ways.
My mom passed away in early December 2008 and my dad followed her on their anniversary date December 22 two years later. Those Christmases we gathered not only to celebrate the birth of Christ, but also to honor the lives of each of them as we held services in the cold of winter in their hometown of Louisville.
In that two story home we brought home a dog and our kids had dogs and Rachel and Zach had kids and we filled that space with as much love as you could ever want, but times change and people change and one day we knew it was time to move again.
So yet another move occurred on the cusp of Christmas.
We closed on the old house and new house in quick succession two days before Christmas Eve. I had packed all the things for the kitchen and anything that would make our house functional for Christmas with the family so that they were accessible first and foremost.
We literally moved in on the 23rd and hosted the most exceptional Christmas Eve the next day for our family. I felt I would burst when Sarah proclaimed she could not believe I pulled it off, and yet wasn’t really that surprised I would. Chaos is my adrenaline and this was a fun way to start off our life in a new place.
Everyone said they felt immediately at home and you can’t ask for more than that when you make a house change.
Okay…so the “stockings” were in gift bags that year and we may have had Chinese take out with Sarah and John on Christmas Day … but we made great memories.
The year of the pandemic, we weren’t sure how we would find a way to celebrate, but we found ways to be together even meeting Sarah, Jack and Rocco at Forest Park for a winter walk and sharing presents on a park bench.
So what’s a little snow and wind this year, right?
Where there is a will, there is a way.
Whatever it looks like, being with family and making the best is what we do.
Praying for safe travels for each of you all and your loved ones – praying for whatever crazy has been thrown into your holidays. Praying the joy of Christmas wins the day for you and yours <3