It's the most wonderful time of the year ~ Christmas lights are shining bright, the smell of that freshly cut Christmas tree in your home, something about sitting by the fireplace watching hallmark movies, shopping for that perfect gift and perfectly placing them under the tree. A season of giving. A season of love. But this year is different...
This past week I had the opportunity to travel to Texas for work. On my way home I was observing the airport hustle and bustle. (I love to people watch). Lots of families traveling, in fact I was one seat behind a family with 2 little ones, I'm guessing under 3. The kids were crying, upset that they couldn't get out of there seats. I really felt bad for the parents - what a hassle travel can be. As frustrated as these parents were, you could see the excitement on their face that they were going home to be with family for the holidays. I've never really had to travel much further than an hour or two to spend time family for the holidays. It had me feeling grateful that my family is so close to one another. It definitely doesn't eliminate the stresses of all that goes into a holiday but it makes it much easier. There is something about sharing laughter. Sharing Food. Sharing Presents. Spending quality time with one another. Continuing on those silly traditions that Mom has made you do since you were little. It's that time of year where it's acceptable to wear fat pants, drink and watch football. :) (GO VIKES) But this year is different... It's a different kind of Christmas.
Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. Those that know me, know that I have a slight Christmas decoration addiction. I haven't exactly kept track but last time I counted I have around 25 totes of Christmas items. (Kyle can be quoted as telling one of our friends that he couldn't even take a shit in our house because there was Christmas on the toilet. He was right.) Terrible I know but I love the feel of Christmas. I also love the smell, the feel, the family time. It's just so special. It also was Kyle's birthday - December 24th. His mom said she was the only one in the hospital that day, because who wants to spend Christmas in the hospital? Kyle would tell just about everyone he met that he was a gift from god because he was born on Christmas Eve. It was a good laugh then but now it is confirmed - he most definitely was a special gift from god. As Christmas approaches, I find myself anxious. I know that this Christmas is going to feel different, empty, lonely and maybe not as exciting as it has in the past. Can I avoid this day all together? Unfortunately not, and Kyle wouldn't have wanted that. In fact, he would be so mad because we all promised that we would continue on with our lives. While it isn't easy to do that day to day, I will not break my promise to Kyle. I know that I am not the only one who will be struggling this holiday season. Many of us have lost a loved one this year or maybe even five years ago. The emptiness doesn't go away. You can't help but wonder what Christmas in heaven is like...
There are a lot of people out there fighting hard battles, some that we know about and some that we don't. There are also people out there spending Christmas without their loved one. Others who have nowhere to go for Christmas. Regardless of the situation, be mindful, be present and share the love. One of my favorite things about this time of year is the Joy that is spread. Although Joy should be spread all through out the year, many of us feel extra generous and joyful during this season. That is my Christmas wish to all of you this year -spread the love, faith and joy with a loved one or a complete stranger. It doesn't always have to cost money - sometimes a simple Good Morning or a smile to a stranger is enough. Or maybe if you know someone that is struggling you send them a random text you are thinking of them. I know on multiple occasions - those text messages helped me through the day. It's sometimes the little things that make a big difference in someone's life. While it's a cheerful time for most, other's need to be reminded.
As we head into the next few days of hustle and bustle. Be Present. Be Grateful. Be Mindful. Spread the love and joy. And remember the reason for the season! :)
Kyle - Just because your up in heaven doesn't mean you won't be near, it's just a different kind of Christmas this year... Love and miss you my sweet angel not a day goes by that I don't think of you. Happy 35th Birthday in heaven - hope you are dancing and showing everyone how to really "get low". :)
Merry Christmas to you all near and far.
Wishing you lots of love, joy and a healthy 2018.
XOXO ~ Kayla Strand