Yesterday was a perfect day.
The holiday itself was fairly calm (except Braden's body but what else is new.) We took the day slow and steady, watching the parade, baking, cleaning, and enjoying one another and our family.
This year we decided to have a small Thanksgiving feast in our quaint, much more cozy home. We agreed that it would just be a few of us and we would enjoy food and one another without the distraction that this holiday can sometimes bring.
We accomplished our goal and had the perfect Thanksgiving meal. There were 6 of us, one 17 pound turkey, a delicious sweet potato casserole, a corn casserole, stuffing, pecan pie and rolls; all homemade, mostly from scratch. I must say that when it was all said and done I felt pretty proud of our efforts.
There's much to be said about a stress-free holiday. There were several times throughout the day that I thought back to past celebrations and remembered the stress that took over me. I had two young children, both who needed bathed, dressed, fed, and taken care of before I could even prepare to get ready for the day myself. Then was the chore of loading them in the car for whatever destination we would be heading to that day. Usually it involved lots of people and my anxiety would be at an all time high before even getting there, causing me to be grouchy when we arrived. There was little help, lots of arguments and overall, the holidays were a time of frustration, anger, and helplessness.
The kids are still challenging in many ways. But there are a few distinct differences. Nora, for example, loves to take part in whatever activity I indulge her in. My hope is that several of them will be the start of traditions that will bring her good memories. Braden makes life hard, as he always has, but he enjoys things fully; much like life. So though he makes activities and going anywhere a true challenge, the joy for me is the final result when I see his happiness and when he understands what it's all about, because he has a true appreciation for things.
We did decide to head to our big family Thanksgiving for a little while, which was nice. It was hard without grandma but I feel like everyone got through it and enjoyed the company as much as possible. Mabel puked so of course, I headed home.
It's no secret that I have so much to be thankful for. One day to celebrate really isn't adequate. This Thanksgiving was a milestone for my heart as it didn't feel heavy, for once. I wasn't weighed down with worry or sadness, questioning whether this would be Mabel's last Thanksgiving with us or not. She was here and we enjoyed a normal day and that was enough.
I did end up having a big cry earlier this week. It was a horrible day where my emotions consumed me. I cried hot, wet tears for hours. I tried going outside to clean the garage but I just wept as I worked. These days still come, they just appear less frequently, for which I'm grateful.
I never in my wildest dreams thought that my life would look the way that it does. I didn't ever envision having an ex-mother in law but nevertheless, I'm thankful that she joined us to celebrate yesterday. I didn't ever envision celebrating my second Thanksgiving as a single mom, because I never envisioned being one. But I am, and it's ok. Good, in fact.
I didn't ever think that I would be starting over at this stage of my life. But I have and I've ended up loving it. This second chance is what I'm most grateful for this year. As I've fallen deeper in love I have learned that you truly can share your life with someone who is willing to accept the mess and love you through it. This man loves these kids and I in a way that is incomparable. This is our second Thanksgiving together and I can only hope it's the beginning of many. He has a beautiful spirit, one that matches mine. He is the calm that my heart so desperately longed for, for a very long time.
I am so glad we slowed down and truly enjoyed the day of gratefulness before moving into the Christmas season, though I'm looking forward to doing that fully as well. My heart is overflowing with peace and contentment. I can't wait to count down the days until our Savior's birth. What a great time of reflecting! So much to celebrate this time of year and always...