For the first time in 15 years, I was able to spend Christmas with my family, or some of my family nearby.
You don't really understand what it means until you are forced to do without, and for us, being in the military meant not only being thousands of miles away from family in the States, but even further from mine which are all back home in South Africa.
I have such fond memories of my childhood Christmases. There was always such anticipation leading up to the day. The buying of gifts and hiding them throughout the house, the cooking of the food, decorating the tree, welcoming a lot of family and sitting around a big table filled to the edges with all sorts of yummy goodies.
Over the years as the kids have grown and married and moved out, the Christmases haven't been what they were, and that is understandable, but for the most part, even though I had moved away, the rest of the clan still managed to get together and enjoy their time.
That feeling of excitement is something my brothers and I have always wanted to pass on to our own children.
For me, it hasn't been as easy because it's always been just my hubby and I, and the two kids. At times, while he was deployed, it was just the kids and I, and that certainly doesn't make for a very exciting Christmas.
But I've done my best to instill in them the giddiness that comes with celebrating the birth of Christ, and the opening of the presents and counting down the hours until midnight.
I've given them the best of both worlds. Followed our Portuguese tradition which is to have a dinner of a myriad of goodies on the table, waiting until midnight and then opening the presents, and then still opening the Santa presents and the stockings on the morning of the 25th. And it's worked for us.
But this year was extra special because I finally had family nearby, and in a sense it brought through the old fashion family Christmases.
I cooked all day long on the 24th, and when my sister in law arrived from work, she helped me finish up. We all sat down and munched away on yummy Portuguese treats.....
Enjoyed a glass....or two....of Moscato wine and reminisced about previous Christmas nights back in South Africa with the whole family.
At midnight we opened presents, we laughed and we gave thanks for being together this year.
It really did feel like I was back in my childhood, and if just for that moment, everything was back to normal. I needed that so badly, my soul needed it so badly, almost like a recharging of batteries.
Now as we approach the ending of the year and the beginning of a new one, I wonder what is in store for us all, but instead of worrying about it like I have done previously, I'm choosing to let it go and concentrate on a day at a time.
THAT is the way to live, not reliving the bad things in the past or fearing the future.
Blessings to you all :)