I am grateful for the smell of Chex Mix baking in the oven.
I am grateful for the sound of Christmas music as I walk the aisles of the grocery store.
I am grateful for the way I have to layer because of the chill in the air this time of year.
I am grateful for the dark at 5:30, another sign that it is time for fireplaces and holiday parties and calendars full.
I am grateful for “THAT’S what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
I am grateful for a few pine cone turkeys made by the Texas grandchildren last year to warm this Ama heart and make her miss them even more.
I am grateful for memories of Thanksgiving break from school, traveling many hours to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s, and spending the week anticipating a big meal, lots of family and noisy chatter, a card table with a puzzle in play, and games, games, games.
I am grateful. I hope it’s also okay to be a little bummed.
A friend shared on Facebook how sad this time of year is for many. Thanksgiving through Christmas has become very bittersweet for me. It is no longer a time of the year I anticipate with joy and excitement, but rather, I dread the quiet and the lonely.
I actually dread the stress of trying to create the “feeling” of holidays and Christmas when it just isn’t there without a house full of family and children and eating and being merry and playing loud laughing games and beds piled high with coats and a tree loaded with gifts and the smells of the season and the giving and serving others and the special programs to attend and the message of our Savior being born acted out in the living room by the grandchildren and their cousins and Mom making everyone say one thing they are thankful for around the table.
I look forward to the quiet of January, because the world goes back to normal and I fit in with my mundane reality, once again.
So, I am working on appreciating what I can. Like that smell of Chex Mix that brings back memories of happy times and makes me “feel” like it’s almost time for the house to fill up with company. It makes me feel like Mom is in the kitchen and is eagerly waiting for the front door to open so she can clomp her feet all the way through the house with a huge grin on her face, arms open wide, and in her most loving way, growl, “Get in here!” followed by her hug that leaves the huggee breathless.
I am grateful that this year, the grocery bill is small and I don’t have to get my fingers all messy trying to save the turkey meat on the bone for turkey noodle soup.
I am grateful that my windows and glass tables won’t have little kid smudge marks all over them.
I am grateful that I don’t have to clean like crazy.
I am grateful that we won’t have to spend hours on the road driving.
I am grateful that I am not obligated to direct or even attend the local school Christmas program and I don’t have to practice practice practice the “Hallelujah Chorus” for the finale.
I am grateful that I won’t have to use Mom’s signature tablecloth that really messes up a beautiful color-coordinated table and doesn’t go with china at all.
I am grateful that there won’t be a crystal dish on the table with green olives to tempt me before the meal.
Who am I kidding.
Time to go stir the Chex Mix. At least we’ll have Chex Mix…