So, we ventured out to do our Annual visit Santa trek.
Each year we head to the mall, we have dinner out, (this is a big deal for us) and do a little shopping.
I am usually frustrated. There are crowds and lots of people; did I mention crowds?
We eat dinner together as a family, which is wonderful but also so expensive.
I spend much time thinking how I can save by cooking at home and
what that money could have gone too.
Even though I have set money aside each week, all year, to do this.
The shopping is crazy because there are 7 of us and this one needs to get a present for this one and they can't be with the other and none of them are old enough to go alone.
So, through the years it's been a memorable experience.
And I did not realize how memorable until this year.
Ana does't want to see Santa. I think I need to have the talk with her. She gave me the look.
I don't even want to go there.
I want her to go so Ella is not alone and won't question why she is not going.
Seeing them with Santa catches my breath.
The years come flooding forward. The memories of years past.
Of all the kids sitting in Santa's chair; without Santa, because apparently at 7:00 p.m.
Santa thinks children should be in bed.
I think of last year and the fun we had with Elijah. He was goofy and silly and he and Cedric were running around the mall looking at everything and doing their own shopping.
They didn't really need me.
I thought about the next year when he would be at boot camp;
not here for this part of the family get together.
Little did I know.
Little did I know that I would spend this year missing him not because he was at boot camp. But because he is with the King of Kings.
That each day my heart would break a little more.
This year, I thought, to make it simple we would go early to see Santa,
(so as not to miss him) and then have dinner at the local restaurant because they have changed hands and we've heard good things about them.
I share this in the morning after devotions. The Plan. Everyone understood.
So I thought.
Of course we need to take 3 cars into town, because Clarissa has an Ortho appointment and
Ella has cello. Cedric needs to be picked up from school.
So we meet in town.
We get into One car.
As we're driving we review the plan.
Ok, I review the plan.
And it all starts. We're not shopping? We always shop. And on and on.
I am ruining age old traditions.
What I thought was an easy plan. . . turned into a fiasco.
I was changing tradition.
Tradition I didn't even know existed.
We are all on edge. All that we know is off balance and turned upside down.
And it makes me think of a post I read about an Upside Down Christmas.
My whole life is upside down, let alone Christmas.
Christmas though, is actually right side up.
It's the constant in the sea of mess.
It's the dirty manger and stable. It's the raw meeting the holy.
The need for something more than what I am.
It is the wonder of a babe born.
He shunned the political, embraced the lost.
He came to save.
Not as the world wanted, but as God ordained.
So, as I wrestle through the holy and the grit and grime of missing our son, heading into chemo and radiation with my farmer, I will travel the well worn path.
I will seek the wonder and joy of the Incarnate; God with us.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.