Today, I am officially another year older.
Normally, I would have mixed feelings about the prospect of aging yet another year, but this year, I am focusing on being grateful that I am alive and made it through the past 365 days! I’m sure some people are sick of me hashing my “tornado” experience…but, if you’ve suffered a moment that you literally believed you were going to die, then you know my daily sigh of relief that my life was spared.
I went to dinner yesterday with family, and one or two friends. I gorged on Filet Mignon, Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake, and Peanut Butter Fudge. I received many wonderful and thoughtful gifts. As I lay in bed last night, reminiscing about the day, tears came to my eyes and I had a crying jag. Tears of relief for making it to another birthday. Tears of sadness for all that was lost during the year. Tears of wonder, knowing that my friends and family cared enough to celebrate this special day so graciously…and tears of happiness, that my whole family is together, alive and well, and yes…occasionally still driving me crazy!
As I was opening my gifts, I was astonished at the thoughtfulness of everyone. My niece, sister-in-law, Aunt, and one friend, gave me money/giftcards to places they know I love. Being able to pick an item that you’ve been wanting is so nice. My mother-in-law knows I LOVE the “feel” of items- the softer the better- so she bought me a super soft sweater, scarf and gloves. My mom got me a gift certificate for a foot massage at my absolute favorite Spa (oh Yeah!), a super warm blanket, a Willow figurine, and a travel bag full of Hershey Kisses!! (She did really good~) And another friend gave me a set of Christmas ornaments. Christmas Ornaments?????!!! YES! I was SO excited to open that gift!!
Now, if you know anything about me, you should know that I am BIG on Christmas. Don’t get me wrong..I’m NOT big on the commercial side of Christmas, per say, but I am BIG on the traditional side of Christmas. To me, it is a Holiday with deeper meaning than what new toy the kids are going to get. One tradition I love is trimming the tree. I had ornaments dating back all the way to my days in Kindergarten. These ornaments survived the House Fire that took our home the summer between sixth and seventh grade. These ornaments were a testament of memories, and a life fully lived. One or two ornaments were bought each year..by myself or my mom. They had meaning and substance to me…and in a moment, on a late April night, they were all gone. I think I cried more about these items than any other I lost that night. Contrary to popular belief, SOME things in life CAN NOT be replaced. I can never go back to Kindergarten and make that ornament. My children will never go back to grade school and bring home trimmings for the tree that their little hands lovingly slaved over, and proudly gave to their Mamma. Each time I think of the coming Christmas Holiday season, I get all teary eyed just thinking of the great loss I will feel…So, you see why this gift was so special to me. No, they weren’t homemade ornaments, but they are the start of a new tradition. The start of many more years to come. The reminder that we can always begin again, even if things will not be quite like they used to be.
Thank you all for being there for me this past year. You have made it bearable. You have prayed for me, cried with me, and blessed me beyond measure. I look forward to spending the coming year with each and every one of you! God Bless!!