Being a single mom is hard enough as is. Being a single mom on the Holidays is by far the worst. I know. I've been there. And it was hard. And I would never wish that upon any momma. Ever.
I know a Mom that is going to be without her baby on Christmas morning for the first time this year. I went to bed last night thinking of her. That led to a lot of old memories coming to the surface. I got angry all over again. I became really sad all over again. And the tears came all over again.
I remember the first Christmas my kids went away. Ella was nearly a year old and Jackson was a little over 3 years old. I was so happy to be with my babies but in the back of my head I knew my time was going to be short. It would never be long enough again. I knew their dad would be there to pick them up and take them away and I would be left with a lit up tree, wrapping paper every where and toys that weren't being played with. I would be left with the reminder that I was all alone. Thankfully, my mom was there. She helped me put together Jackson's Thomas Train table the night before and set out gifts. She actually helped me in more ways than I realized until now. But it wasn't the same. I wanted to spend that day with my children. I already missed them and they weren't even gone yet. I'm positive I cried because of that before they even left.
And then he came. And they were gone. My house was filled with silence. Deafening silence.
I wanted to stay home. I wanted to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to cry on my own terms. In my own bed, balled up like an infant. But my mom wouldn't let me.
Some how she convinced me to leave the house that day. To go visit family. I did NOT want to. Not at all. I'm positive I was not the cheeriest of people. I thought being around my nephews would make it better. It made it worse. I felt the somberness creep its way back into my aching heart. I felt resentment and anger come back in the form of a lump in my throat. I made several trips to the bathroom to let the tears go that I was so desperately trying to fight back. And then I had to wait it out in the bathroom for the puffiness to disappear from under my eyes. I did this act consistently through out the rest of the day.
As horrible as it was, something happened that day that changed my life forever. I "met" my future husband. I met the man who, in the next few years, would be my rock and my shoulder to cry on when the Holidays came around and I wasn't with my kids.
And that he was.
Two years after that was the first time I didn't wake up on Christmas morning with my kids. The first time since both of them had come into my world. The first time I didn't hear the pitter patter of feet in the early morning hours of Christmas. The first time we didn't go to bed checking on Santa's location to see if he was near. The first time the house wasn't in an upheaval with wrapping paper and toys before 8 a.m. The first time I didn't care about ever getting out of bed. And so I didn't. I didn't get out of bed for hours. I layed there and I cried. I allowed myself to be sad. I allowed myself to say, "It's not fair!", I allowed to let it all go. And Jacob just said, "I'm sorry." And he let me be. He was patient and as understanding as he could have been. He never made me feel bad for crying so much or for being so sad. Or for feeling angry or sorry for myself. Never. Not once. He just let me be.
It's been 7 years since I had my first Christmas without my kids all day. Their little brother will never know what it's like to spend an entire Christmas Day with his brother and sister. That's not what I want for any of them but it's our reality. It's been 7 years and I still cry when we drop them off at their Dad's after lunch. I won't have them this year on Christmas morning so I am sure I will be a mess all over again. Only, it's a different version of the mess I once was. I have other things to look forward to. The be thankful for. I know my husband will hug me extra tight and kiss me and say, "I'm sorry. I love you." I know the excitement on Landon's face on Christmas morning will be evident whether Jackson and Ella are there or not. Yes, I have many other things to look forward to.
I hope you have someone to fill the void for you. Not that your kids are replaceable but emptiness can be filled with love. With understanding. With Patience. With Family. This is my wish for you this Holiday season and every season to follow. It won't be easy and it doesn't have to be. Time lessons the blow, that I promise. And tears are therapeutic. I pray you always have someone when you don't have your munchkins. And as cliche as this may be, remember, that in the scheme of things, in this big, beautiful, ugly world we live in, it could be so much worse. We truly are blessed beyond what we deserve. All those blessings come shining through in our kids. It's a reminder that God loves us and He is looking out for us.
God loves you, He is looking out for you.
Be well my sweet friend. And Merry Christmas.