In 2002, I couldn't find my Christmas spirit. I kept looking for it...I kept waiting for it to turn up...but it just wasn't happening.
We had little to no money. Our car had broken. Jeff had to change jobs because of it. I wasn't working because I had just given birth to Bear four weeks earlier. I was battling post-partum depression and Jeff's mother was in the hospital.
We had 250 dollars scraped together to get Christmas presents for three kids. Addy, who was fourteen months old at the time, had removed and broken EVERY decoration on our tree.
I was done with Christmas before it had even started.
I was going through the motions...trying so hard to be jolly. I kept telling myself that if I kept pretending to be cheerful, I'd eventually get bitten by the Christmas bug.
"Fake it 'til you make it" became my holiday mantra--with little success.
On Christmas Eve, we had our first annual party as a family--a tradition we still do every year. It was just Jeff, myself and the kids that year....and a tiny "spread" that included a bowl of chips, a small platter of sandwich meat, and a small relish tray.
While we munched on our goodies....it started to snow.
Now, if you know me or you've read this blog before....you probably know that I hate snow. I detest it with a burning fire that I can't even begin to put into words. But on Christmas Eve, it's kind of...maybe just a little bit....okay.
The snow began to fall harder. After Addy and Bear were laid down for the night, Nathan, Jeff and I went out on the front porch to peek at the snowfall and we saw the most amazing sight...
The town we lived in at the time had lined the streets with candles. The whole neighborhood was glowing with candlelight as the snow silently fell to the ground. It was so beautiful...standing on our porch...candles all around us....enveloped in that deep, solemn quiet that only happens during a snowfall.
I was filled with wonder and awe....and finally....some Christmas spirit.
That snowstorm turned into a blizzard that left us snowed in and housebound--but we really didn't mind.
Not only was it Bear's first Christmas, it was also the first time Addy had some sort of understanding about the holidays. And...it was the only Christmas that Nathan spent entirely with us--because his biological mom was snowed in too.
Each Christmas, We strive to make it "the best year ever". We run around like crazy people trying to make all our kids' wishes come true. We try to make memories for them that will last forever.
But for me, watching the snow fall by candlelight, while my babies slept, is my favorite memory.
We might not have had much, but we had each other.
And that is the spirit of Christmas.