The holiday season is officially upon us. Yay! I know most people don't consider it "The Holidays" until Thanksgiving gets here, but I start declaring it The Most Wonderful Time of the Year as soon as we get into November good. =) After November arrives we start our Thanksgiving Projects, we get busy working on Christmas lists for the boys and ourselves, we purge and clean out to make room for decorations and new things, we finalize our holiday plans, we start shopping, and we start to decorate. So fun!
And this year is oh so special because we're back home. This is the first time in our 9 plus years of marriage we won't have to travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The first year we get to sleep in our own beds Christmas Eve and wake up in our own home on Christmas morning. The first year our babies get to experience the entire holiday season at home and with their grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles just a few minutes away. The first year we won't spend half the holidays packing and riding in the car and sleeping at our parents' houses. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!
I can't even explain the joy and relief and gratitude we feel over being home for the holidays. We always believed deep down this day, this season would come, but there were also lots and lots of doubts and discouragement and pouting along the way.
Every single year it was an issue for us. The traveling. The packing. The dividing our time between 2 houses... neither of them being our own. The kids and what was best for them. We'd stress. We'd get overwhelmed. We'd argue. We'd complain. But every year we made it work. We knew we wanted to be with our families. We knew we wanted to continue traditions and spend the season with our favorite, most important people. And since we're from the same hometown that meant both of our families. And honestly we wouldn't have it any other way. Because every year we were blessed to spend the holidays with both our families and every year turned out to be fun and exciting and special. Wonderful memories were made. Some of the best memories. Memories I'm so thankful to have recorded here.
But it was hard. It was stressful and draining leading up to the holidays. (Then it was the most fun ever during the holidays.) Then it was just plain exhausting after the holidays. To sum it up, it was a lot. A lot to figure out and work out and make happen and fit in and do. And every year we'd wonder if we'd have to do it again. We'd wonder if we'd be able to find the energy and enthusiasm to do it again. We hoped we might not have to travel the next year. We prayed it'd be possible for Terrell to have a new job and for us to be living back in the hometown. Every year we hoped and prayed and wondered.
And now here we are.
HERE WE ARE!!!
Our first holiday season back in the hometown where we've yearned to be for years. It's here and it's happening! Since that very first holiday season "away" back in 2005 in that lonely country subdivision in Gainesville, Georgia... where the first ache and longing began...9 years later and here we are. So crazy. Ha! I am amazed and overwhelemd at God's goodness and faithfulness to our family. His grace continues to overflow during this "transition" year as He's provided us with everything we've needed. (You know the list... the job, moving before selling our house, Garrison starting K here, the rental house, ...) We are so blessed and so thankful.
But with any first, with anything new, there is change.
While we are thrilled and excited and overjoyed about being home for the holidays, this is our first year ever to truly be "home for the holidays". Which means change is most definitely happening. And change isn't always easy. For one thing, spending the holidays in this particular house won't be easy and perfect... there's no room for a big tree, no room for even half of our decorations, there's not even a place to hang the stockings. I know none of these things are what Christmas is really all about. They aren't the reason for the season or why we celebrate. But they are special and fun and things we enjoy, so doing without will be a bummer.
Then there's the fact that some of our traditions will change because we won't be spending the night with our parents and waking up in their homes. And that's sort of bittersweet. We're so thankful to start and experience our own special holiday traditions as a family of 5 but we'll also really miss all the fun and special moments and traditions that can only happen when you're sleeping under the same roof as your parents and siblings. Sigh.
Even though we're in a tiny, old house this Christmas, and even though we won't be spending the night in our parents' homes like we always have before, we know this holiday season will be more special and stress-free and family-centered than ever before. We know what a blessing it is to be living here. We know how nice and wonderful it will be to not have to pack and travel. To truly focus on our family and celebrating the holidays without those things being a burden to us. We also know we'll figure out new traditions and ways of celebrating the holidays with our families that will be just as meaningful and fun as before. And we can't wait to experience it all here at home. We are sooo thankful to be home for the holidays and to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year... here! Let the festivities and fun and celebrating begin!