What a difference a year makes. This time last year, my husband, daughter and I were immersed in a flurry of holiday decorating and open houses to sell our old behemoth of a family home that we no longer had the family to fill. We sold the week before Christmas and had to be moved two weeks after. It was a crazy time!
Now, Hubby, daughter and I are cozy in our new house, but it’s awfully quiet. She works full-time, so between her job and the special man in her life, we rarely see her. Which leaves Hubby and I with far too much alone-time with our menagerie of dogs and cats—left behind by our grown kiddos.
Hubby’s grandmother used to live with us, but having had Alzheimer’s, she’s now in a much better Heavenly place. One son is off in LA and our other is making a great life for himself in a nearby town. Seems like just yesterday that our holiday home resembled a hectic mall parking lot on Black Friday morning! LOL! Friends and family constantly popping in and out.
It’s strange how life, like years, has seasons. Some bright and sunny, others shrouded in melancholy fog. Before too long, I’m hoping for a wild house again—filled with grandkids and in-laws. But until then, I find myself thinking back to my childhood, and when my dear grandparents were alive. We would spend Christmas Eve with my father’s family at Aunt Katie and Uncle Paul’s tiny Michigan home. It was PACKED with so many family and friends that it was literally hard to get around. But we managed. Uncle Paul played Santa and great food and carols and love and laughter made life especially bright.
From there, we’d drive thirty minutes south to my mother’s family. Along the way, if the night was clear, Mom and Dad would point to Rudolph. (I now know “he” was the blinking lights on a plane, but oh, how I used to believe.) The excitement for Christmas morning was almost too much to bear. My grandpa would always wake me with a little whistle, signaling I was welcome to jump into my grandparents’ bed for cuddles.
It seems inconceivable that most everyone from those precious memories have passed. Sometimes this reality hits with a crushing pain in my chest. But then I force deep breaths, and remind myself that like seasons, I’m changing. Life is changing. Our family dynamic is changing.
I used to be that giddy little girl, but now I’m the grown-up. It’s part terrifying, part exhilarating. Yes, I’ve lost much to my past, but look how much love is left for my future! I can’t wait for our sons and daughter to marry, and to hold our first grandchild and once again make hoofprints on the hearth to prove Santa came. I’m excited for our house to once again be a hectic home.
Until then, I’m determined to not be sad for this slower season, but welcome it as a time to reflect and rest and remember how much love and good times are yet to come.
Wishing you all the most joyous holiday ever—Laura Marie xoxo
P.S. If you love holidays as much as I do, I hope you’ll enjoy my new series SEAL Team: Holiday Heroes. The first book, CHRISTMAS COOKIE BABY, is available now!
ARE YOU A VIRGIN?
Alaskan bush pilot and retired Navy SEAL, Colby Davis, meant the stupid question as a joke—a way to calm the obviously tattered nerves of his pretty passenger, Rose, who isn’t exactly enjoying her first time in a small plane. Never in a million years did he think a few hours later his whole world would change. A freak blizzard forces him into a remote crash landing. Facing brutally cold temps, they accept their mutual ends. And make deathbed confessions. Her most shocking? She really is a virgin! When she begs him to make love to her before she dies, Colby agrees. After all, it’s the only honorable thing to do.
When morning comes, not only are they very much alive, but they’re caught in each other’s arms by an entire alpine rescue team comprised of his SEAL brothers. Talk about awkward. Rose leaves town, only to return seven months later. Seven very pregnant months later when she admits she’s carrying his son . . .