In many ways this Christmas was different than Christmases past. Yet in some ways, it was familiar.
As time goes on and yet another Christmas season comes and goes, I realize more than ever that life is constantly changing. With those changes come the reality that things will never again be as it has been in the past. While that is certainly a good thing in some ways – as all of our memories of past holiday celebrations aren’t always that wonderful – it also means that the good memories will rely on us to keep them alive in our hearts and our minds and to honor them each year as Christmas passes.
This year was a rather different kind of Christmas for me. After years of raising children and having large family gatherings filled to the brim with people, food and gifts, we had a very different atmosphere.
Things are different in my life now. Over the past several years, I had come to love and embrace Keith’s family, as they had embraced me as their own, and it felt good to have a place to spend the holidays where I felt so comfortable and loved. I also have my dear friends Bernie and Ellen and their daughter Cindy, whom I call my “Canadian Family” because of the love and caring they have shown towards me since I came to this country nine Christmases ago. They all have made a huge difference and have helped fill a place in my heart that missed my own children and family during the holiday season. They have stuck by me through both good times and bad, and I am very fortunate that they are in my lives.
It is times such as these though that I wish I could be in two places at once. Seeing my children and new grand daughter a couple of months ago only made me miss them more this Christmas. But knowing that they are happy and settled and all healthy helped to alleviate the pain I felt for not being able to be with them. As a parent, the greatest gift we can receive from our children is to see them successful and happy. In that respect my mind is at peace.
I really missed Keith’s father Artie this year as well. He had lost his battle with cancer this autumn and since then, it has been a time of adjustment for all of us. I can’t tell you all how many times something comes to mind and I would catch myself thinking “we’ll just have to ask Artie.” and I would remember that it would no longer be possible to do so. I don’t know if I realized the impact he had on our lives and how much I would miss him. But I do now.
Although our local family is much smaller now, we still had a lovely Christmas celebration. Keith’s mom spent all day Christmas Eve with us, and she showed me how to make Rappie Pie – an Acadian dish that had been a tradition in her family for years. To me, it was one of the best gifts that she could give me, as not only did I learn more about her and Keith’s heritage, but we had a beautiful day together as well. It came out wonderful and we spent the day talking and cooking and watched a couple of movies – all the while we were entertained by my three cats. It was very different from the way we had spent other Christmases, but it was lovely and a wonderful memory in itself.
On Christmas Day, we headed to Bernie and Ellen’s house. Again this was rather low key as far as what we had done in the past. Ellen had lost her brother over the summer, and both her grand children have moved to different parts of Canada. In the years past, she had a house bustling full of people and children, but this year it was only us. We were very happy that Keith’s mom joined us as well, as for me it was extra special to have my entire Canadian families together at once. Although there were only six of us (Bernie and Ellen’s daughter Cindy was there as well) it was a wonderfully pleasant day filled with family and good food. We set strict limits on gift giving, but there was still plenty of things to open and the greatest gift of all was the gift of love and friendship that we all felt for each other. It was a good day for all I do believe.
As I sit here this morning and reflect on the day, I feel content. While the holiday celebrations may not have been as large as they have been for me in the past, they are certainly just as meaningful.
Every day I try to look at the positive side of things, and be grateful for the good things in my life. Since I have decided to do that, I have noticed that even when some things weren’t going so well, there was still an abundance of good things I had to focus on. I know I am very fortunate and I don’t ever want to let myself forget of about what a wonderful life I live.
I hope you all had a beautiful holiday as well. No matter how much you celebrate Christmas – or even if you choose to not celebrate it at all – I hope that you focus on the good things that surround you and appreciate and love each and every day for the good things it offers. It truly makes life enjoyable.
Today I am still going to be low key. Perhaps I will do so for the remainder of the week. I have a deadline due for the magazine after the new year and I am thinking about it now, but I don’t think I will begin working on it until Monday. There are other things that I want to do in the next few days and I am not ready to jump back into work just yet. This is a gift I have chosen to give myself this year.
I think that Pancakes had the right idea yesterday:
Enjoy your Thursday
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"