Friday, December 26, 2014

Next Christmas Will Be Better

Christmas is finally over. It used to be a day that I would look forward to for months. I loved the entire Christmas season-starting the day after Thanksgiving and eventually coming to a close on New Years Day. I would be giddy over all the homemaker-y things that I love--baking, decorating, wrapping gifts, and sending Christmas cards. My husband loved Christmas, too. We would always cut down our own tree and then marvel over the gargantuan sized Evergreen tucked tightly into the corner. We would listen to Christmas carols and eat Christmas cookies until we felt sick.

This year was so unbelievably different.

I mostly ignored the fact that Christmas was coming, which was hard to do being that I am a second grade teacher and the #1 conversation topic in a 2nd grade classroom in December is the nightly mischievous antics of each personal elf. Somehow, though, everything I did in my classroom that even remotely revolved around Christmas bounced off my Grinch-style anti-Chrismas outer layer of steel and didn't make me depressed. We made Christmas ornaments for their parent gifts, I read The Polar Express, so obviously we watched the movie, too. I even printed out golden Polar Express tickets to give to each child. And oh how adorable it was when one sweet little blonde asked in the most fragile and awe-struck of 7-year-old voices, "is this for the real Polar Express?!" I was going strong. On the Thursday before break I ignorantly proclaimed to myself, I made it! I made it through 2nd grade Christmas. ... I obviously hadn't reached Friday yet.

Every year we do an all school sing-a-long in the gym. I usually eat. it. up. It really is amazing to hear almost 600 children singing "The Blitzen Boogie." Like I said, this year was so unbelievably different. Silent Night. The words were projected on the screen as we sang, "sleep in Heavenly peace." I had to leave. That was too, too much. After a good 5 minute silent sob in the girl's bathroom and few deep breaths, I made it back to my class just in time for the Penguin Polka. I survived, but it was so hard.

Christmas Eve was difficult, but I hosted it at our house and overall, I enjoyed myself. I love hosting and we played a fun grab bag and guess-which-celebrity-is-on-my-back game. I prepared way too much food, but that's ok. Now I don't have to cook today. Before we ate, we lit a white candle for Charlotte next to our nativity and had a moment of silent prayer. It was beautiful, peaceful, and perfect--just what I needed to get through the rest of the night.

Christmas morning at home was better than I expected. My husband loved his gifts, and that made me happy. We then went to my in-laws for breakfast and presents, and that was very hard. It was another moment that I specifically fantasized about doing with Charlotte. Walking in on Christmas morning, all smiles and joy, everyone fawning over our beautiful baby girl. It wasn't like that. She was missing, and I felt so empty, lonely, and sad. It overwhelmed me for a few minutes, but, thanks to my husband's strength, I pulled it together and was able to make it through the rest of the day.

Dan went to visit her grave at the cemetery and put out a Christmas floral display, but I still wasn't ready. Instead I played with Clyde and his new rope toy in the yard until Dan got home. We spent a few hours at his aunt and uncle's house, but getting cuddled up on the couch together that night was the best part of the day.

Now that Christmas is over I feel a little bit of relief. After coming off our miscarriage last October, we kept telling ourselves "next Christmas will be better." Well, here we are again. And although I am immeasurably more sad and lost this year, I still keep telling myself, "next Christmas will be better."

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