Christmas memories - annual events...

This week was one of annual Christmas traditions - at least they have become so in the past few years. The first was dinner out with some girlfriends, whom I only see a few times a year. We were part of a Bible study when our children were young and somewhere along the way began the Christmas tradition of dinner at a restaurant sometime in December. It's an event I always enjoy, but I must say, it is amazing how fast time has passed, how age has begun to creep up on us all. Three of the four of us are grandparents now (I am the one who has not yet had that privilege). Good memories. Good times! Yesterday, I had my annual Christmas lunch and shopping day with my mom. I'm so glad to still have her with me and that she is still able to get out and shop. We have a favorite restaurant at one of the local malls where we typically choose between one of two salads. Then after shopping in a number of stores, we stopped off for a piece of Godiva chocolate. I get a free piece once a month as part of their rewards program, though I don't always get out to get it. Dark chocolate raspberry. Yum! :)

Then today was another annual event that began a few years ago - an event that I would rather not have discovered even existed, if the truth were known. It is the annual Christmas brunch at the nursing home where my dad lives. The brunch is put on by a group of phenomenal people who seem to truly care for the residents who live there. The food is good, and the decorations transform the ordinary dining room into a joyous setting. My dad is always so happy to see us when we visit. But I wish he didn't have to live there. I wish he could walk again and still lived with my mom. I wish life didn't have to change in such negative ways. I wish those sad, lonely souls who live there were healthy and strong and young again...

But situations and memories change, and this Christmas brunch has been an annual event now for three years. So we go and enjoy each moment God gives us with my dad. We sat with a woman who was there all alone. Her only son did not come, though he lives close by. She was polite and seemed happy, but it was obvious she missed him.

Some people don't enjoy this Christmas season. It brings to mind too many painful memories. And for some, it accentuates loneliness. Visits to the nursing home always make me grateful for those who work there and sad for those who live there. But it is an annual event I will cherish as long as God allows my dad to keep it.

In the midst of these continuing celebrations, we are still remodeling. The carpet is in. The moldings are almost done. Our boys are scheduled to come home this week! No other celebration means more to me than being with my family! Prayers for their safe flight home are most appreciated!

Until next time~

PersonalJill Eileen Smith