The Christmas after my dad passed away was a tough one. I was in 2nd grade and have a vivid memory of my mom crying as my brother and I opened gifts on Christmas morning. She took the Christmas tree down that same night.
When you think about some of what we’ve all been through, it’s amazing that we are still standing. I find myself thankful on this Christmas Eve. While the sense of loss is still there, there is a lot that has gone right and thinking upon it fills me with peace and contentment.
I don’t want to miss this feeling of gratitude for all of the little moments. A warm cat snuggled in my lap, a warm cookie fresh out of the oven, a nice glass of wine. The past few days in the midwest have many of us cozied up in our houses. I don’t want to underestimate how incredibly fortunate I am to have a solid roof over my head. I want to fully appreciate the opportunity take a hot bath and revel in the opportunity to blast our heat and slurp a big bowl of ramen while watching our favorite shows under blankets on the couch.
I’ve share this in the draft of my book, but my first question after learning that my dad died was, “Will we have enough food to eat?” It was my understanding that my dad played a critical role in ensuring that food was on our table every day. I am thankful that I never had to go without food.
While no child or adult should have to worry about having enough food to eat, I’m thankful that I learned early to be thankful for what I have.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lived to see more years than my dad ever did, but I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I am alive today and that I get to be here to see another Christmas. We only experience so many holidays in our lives.
As I cleaned the house today, I shined our good stemware and lit some of our favorite candles. Doing so brought me so much joy that I wondered why I’ve been saving these things. Life is short. Use your best china, burn your best candles, wear that sequin top to the grocery store if you want – who cares!
Life is a special occasion.
On this holiday and every day, let’s set our hearts and minds to what had to go right for us to be here today. Cars had to start. Traffic needed to move smoothly and flights had to land safely. When it comes to the ones we love, we had to be in the right place at the right time to meet them. Think about that. Partners and close friends needed to be in the right place at the right time for us to meet. The magic of the family we choose for ourselves never ceases to amaze me. That somehow we found each other, and we loved how we felt and who we became when we were together. We can be thankful for the relationships that weren’t meant for us too because we learned some things, and those absences leave space for what is meant to be.
The same can be said for opportunities. The ones that passed us by.
Some of us are in the middle of really hard things right now. Big hugs to you. I hope you let yourself feel what you need to feel.
For those searching for peace, you might find it if you slow down to see the magic in all of the little moments that are working in your favor.
If you take a deep breath and simply notice, there is a good amount of good. When you find the good, the good gets better.
And so do you.