Christmas 2016: A Tale Two Christmases
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. On Sunday we celebrated Hailey’s first Christmas. It was so fun to see the joy on her face eating wrapping paper and playing with her brother. It was the first time we had all 4 cousins together. It was also the day my grandma went to be with her husband in heaven.
Growing up there was always the one house from which we received all the best presents. It was also the house where I felt the most comfortable. I would walk in, take off my shoes and feel right at home. This was my grandma’s house. It was always warm and inviting and there were always cookies on hand. It was there that I first saw Newsies. There that we would beg my parents to let us sleep over. And there that I first had farina for breakfast which I would continue to have every time I slept over there.
My mother’s mother died when I was 1 month old, so grandma was the only grandmother I grew up knowing. We would cuddle on the couch, she would let me play dress up with her clothes and jewelry, and make masterpieces (read: messes) in her kitchen. A day at grandma’s was a day well spent. And let me tell you, the woman could cook. From rice and beans to permit to pasteles to pork chops everything was amazing!
Back to the Present
Over the years things changed, we got busy and visited less. But it was still a joy to be around my grandma. Her love was unwavering and her ear was always available to listen. Even when the relationship between my mom and I had completely deteriorated, she listened and loved, stating her thoughts and never picking sides.
Then my grandfather died 6 years ago and things were never the same. My grandma truly lost a huge part of herself that day. Her health deteriorated and she sunk into a depression. Bringing Tyler over once he was born was a blessing as it brought her such joy to see him. Her face would brighten upon seeing him. By the time Hails came around she had deteriorated such that she did not always know who we were. Still that baby could put a smile on anyone’s face.
Last Sunday, I was able to visit my grandma and say goodbye for the last time. She was refusing to eat and at 88 years old, her body was just slowing down. I was blessed to visit during one of her more lucid moments. We spoke about her great grand babies and I actually got to see her smile.
My grandmother died on my daughter’s first Christmas. I got the call while we were opening presents at home. In my mind, she decided to go home and celebrate with my grandpa whom she missed so dearly. I am lucky to have 2 wonderful children who are filled with such joy that I could not help but be joyous yesterday. My grandma loved spoiling us at Christmas. This year she gave me a chance to take a break and spend more time with family this holiday season. I will miss her deeply and sorely, and I could not have been more blessed to know her.
Here is how we celebrated the day in her honor:
Also, Christmas Eve was our family’s first Christmas pageant. T played a shepherd and he recruited me to be a shepherd as well. Baby Hailey was the baby Jesus. Daddy was videographer. It was really cute and a fun way to celebrate Christmas Eve with the family. For some reason, those pics are not uploading properly, but I will add them when I can.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family! Back to our regularly scheduled programming on Friday. See you then.
Emily Bendler is a mom, wife, full-time insurance adjuster, professional dancer, dance teacher, graduate student, and founder of I Hope You Dance, Inc., a non-profit supporting youth dance. Read how Emily used her dance ambitions to become a time management maven. Feel free to send Emily a message using the email me tab above.