As Tony and I sat down to do our holiday card this year, I realized just how much traditions mean to him. I let him do the card on his own last year (hense, the blurry picture), so I thought I’d at least check his work this year. He carefully chose a picture of himself with his brothers from his graduation in May, and then added a picture of Dave and I on the back from our spring break getaway, where we renewed our vows and celebrated our 25th anniversary. He even edited it to Sepia tone, centered, and added a phrase that I quoted to him — then changed the font! I loved it!!
For five days he hounded me to update my Christmas labels and print them out… so when the cards arrived the process could begin. It only took him a couple of hours to assemble the cards. Had I known he had started, I would have written a little note on each one. So for those that received them — sorry about that! Tony is a man of few words and of mass production. So chop chop! Off they went in the mail.
Next started the tradition of decorating the house, putting up the tree and pulling out ornaments old and new, changing Beau’s collar to his “Christmas collar”, baking anything and everything, all while playing nonstop Christmas music all day – every day. All. Day. Every. Day.
I love that he (we’ve) established these traditions (routines) for him (us). We all smile and play along, as if we’re doing this for Tony. But I know in my heart of hearts that we’d being doing it anyway.
I mean, who doesn’t love holiday traditions?
A big thank you to all for sending your holiday cards this year! So many have been posting online instead, but as you can imagine, this house still loves to get them in the mail. Tony watches for them daily, practically running down our mailman when he gets home from work. He’s quite disappointed on the days that no cards arrive… frowning he’ll say, “but no cards?” and then “sad mood”.
(quick side note: another milestone when he can finally express a mood!)
And as always, the cards are displayed in our kitchen with mounds of scotch tape.
With so much to look forward to in 2015, we realize just how far we’ve come since Tony’s diagnosis in 1995. Twenty years of unknowns — denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. We’ve hit every stage of grief and we’ve hit them hard.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — even though life can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. It took me years to come to that conclusion.
Learn from our trial and errors. Use the blessings you were given and run with them. But use YOUR blessings — not somebody else’s.
Do not compare your life with anyone. No other person can walk in your shoes on a daily basis. That is why YOU were chosen for the job.
Learn to reach your child through actions, not words. Because even though they may be nonverbal, it doesn’t mean they’re not listening.
And may God bless you today and always – no matter where you are on your journey.
Wishing you many blessings full of traditions old and new this holiday season!
Keep the faith,