After a month of celebrating our Savior's birth and all the excitement that comes with the season, all is quiet.
After 16 people under our roof for the weekend (which I LOVED) everyone has gone home and even taken my two youngest with them for a few days.
The lights are out.
The dog is sleeping along with Rex and Shayne who are sacked out on the couch.
My trees are down and most of the decorations put away. Only a couple of cupcakes remain.
This Christmas season officially ends tonight for our family.
It was different this year for us. But that's been true for most things family and tradition related since Iris was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. We had so hoped to bring her to our house for the day. We did not. It wasn't best for her. And hard as it is, when you love someone with Alzheimers you have to put your own wants and needs aside. So, we celebrated Christmas Eve with her as best we could in her world, not ours.
Christmas Day was much the same, Mom and Larry came for breakfast, the Allen's came for lunch and The Nance's came for dinner. In the midst of the joy and fun, we silently grieved for what we knew was to be no more as we loudly joyed in the traditions that continue.
This weekend we partied again for our Henley-Parks Christmas. Growing each year, our family is at 27 and counting. We're expecting new baby Naff to be rolling around or crawling by next December and with children becoming adults we know the number will continue to grow.
There is great comfort in the familiar- Christmas coffee in our PJ's, snuggling with little snotty noses and baby toes, the hugs from family we see far too less and love so much. Joy in the
This year especially, I was more keenly aware of the people surrounding me. Between the shootings in Newtown, a mother-in-law who can no longer enjoy the season and the unexpected death of a classmates daughter, I looked around and listened carefully. I soaked it all in and frequently caught myself whispering to God, Thank You!
Thank you for my family that I can touch, smell, hug, kiss, cook with and assign sentences to when the we can't get along shirt fails. Thank you for brothers fighting and mommas consoling and the husband wrapping packages up special just for me. For the abundance of fudge and the hands who made it with love. For the friends who are family.
Thank you for allowing our family, the Allen-Kirchner-Torres-Parks-Henley-Naff-Hunsley-Farmer family to enjoy another Christmas.
And thank you most for your own baby boy- JESUS who makes it possible for us to live and to love.