The Word of the Day is – Gratitude

It’s the day after Christmas, y’all.

Santa came!

Santa came!

And my heart is filled with love and gratitude.

Can we open presents now?

May we open presents now?

Last Christmas perfectly fit “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This time last year, Fran (my mother-in-law), was in the ICU for what turned out to be the last time. The engine on my car quit working while Hubby was on his way to the airport to pick up his aunt (Fran’s sister). Son was home (courtesy of the U.S. Marines) for the first time in a long time. We were grateful to see him and our aunt, but our hearts were breaking as the realization that Fran was likely not going to get better was sinking in. The car was dead (booooo!), but I was on vacation (yay!). They were able to find a replacement engine (hurrah!) off of a rear-ended wrecked car (bad luck for someone else).

This year, my only thought for Christmas was “Dear Lord, please don’t let it suck.”

And thankfully, it didn’t.

Past Tinkerbell's bedtime

After midnight Mass we stayed up talking until 2 a.m. – past Tinkerbell’s bedtime

In a weird sort of cosmic kung fu, the bad times have above all else taught me how to appreciate the good times.

My Darling Daughter

My Darling Daughter

Daughter and Jynxie, her Chihuahua, spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us. I know I’m biased, but in our eyes, our daughter is the most beautiful young woman in the world and we are so proud of the young lady she has turned out to be.

The pups were also happy to see Jynxie again.

Chihuahua Central

Chihuahua Central-after a hard day of celebrating

When I see my son, I see traces of my father and my big brother. I see the baby who was born three months early, whose determination to live translated later on into the grit and staying power it took to be a U.S. Marine. He’s starting a new chapter of his life now (pursuing his master’s degree) and being with him again is that much sweeter for him having been away for so long. We are extremely proud of the young man he has grown up to be.

Son is home!

Son is home!

The best Christmas gift ever was to have everyone together and have the time to kick back and enjoy each other’s company. Texts and photos flew back and forth throughout the day between us and far away family – even separated by thousands of miles and several time zones, we still found a way to celebrate together.

Li'l Bit showing off her jingle bell collar

Li’l Bit showing off her jingle bell collar

Love is the best Christmas gift of all.