December 18, 2010

Christmas Traditions...

Every family has their own Christmas traditions. During this time of year, I often think back to my families traditions while growing up.. the day after Thanksgiving we would pull out the tree, wrap the garland, string the lights.. hang the ornaments. My mom is a little OCD, so we would have to get step stools so the ornaments would be 'evenly spread throughout,' and yes we put decorations on the back, otherwise it wouldn't be symmetrical! (just for you SB) We would than wrap the skirt around the base and than the great moment, plugging it in! the lights would glow with bright colors, the ornaments perfectly placed and the angel sitting so stoically in its place at the top. We than pulled out the stockings and hung them each in line, and yes we had stockings for the pets! Than the fun would really start. 

Over the next few weeks, the preparations would begin. My brothers and I would gather together and write our Christmas lists, and start the plans for our big Christmas concert. Every year we would put on a play for my parents on Christmas Eve. We would bicker and argue, fight and laugh, and the end product NEVER turned out how we pictured. But we always had good laughs. 

So now fast forward to Christmas Eve. Our family opened gifts at midnight and we would get our Santa gifts Christmas morning. My brothers and I would try everything to bribe our parents to let us open just one gift before midnight, our beggings never worked. One year I remember, my dad told us if we could hold a handstand for at least 6 seconds without assistance we could open one gift. So we tried, and we tried, and we tried, and we TRIED! By the time we were done trying, it was midnight! 

We would rip off the ribbons, shred apart the paper, tear open the boxes, play with the toys, try on the clothes, pop in the DVD's and than fall asleep with toys, goodies, and candy in hand. We would wake up Christmas morning with more gifts patiently waiting under the tree from the Mr. Santa Claus himself! We got to endulge in cheese, crackers and hickory farms sausage until Christmas dinner was ready! This was our tradition year after year. There would be a different 'test' every Christmas Eve, a different performance, but always filled with love, laughter and joy.

Fast forward to the current year...

The coming months of the holidays came, J and I started to discuss our own Christmas traditions with Savanna. Would we open presents the night before? Or would we wait until Christmas morning? Will we cook a big dinner on Christmas day? Will we read the "The Night Before Christmas?" Would we lay out cookies and milk for Santa? Will we have a cake to celebrate Jesus' birthday? The months came and went, and those makings of holiday traditions were stripped from us that Friday November evening...

We didn't get to get her the fish tank we wanted. Or the sit to stand toys to practice her walking. We didn't get to take holiday photos to send out to family and friends. We put up the tree with no little fingers getting into the boxes of ornaments. No little eyes gazing into the Christmas lights. No little hands trying to rip open the paper. It was just us. J and me. 

I almost didn't want to put up the tree. I felt guilty. By putting up the tree meant it was a reality.. she was really gone. We were moving on without her here, we had to start our family traditions without her. She wouldn't be there to drive me crazy while I was trying to organize all of the decorations. She won't be there to pick out her own ornaments in the years to come. She won't be there to help mommy and daddy hang the lights, or put up the tree, or hang her stocking. There won't be any gifts under the tree for my little girl. No Santa Claus to visit her, no milk and cookies to put out. No stories of Jesus' birth..
 
Thinking of all of these things I realized that we have now started a new tradition. We adopted an angel, and made a wonderful Christmas for a little 6 year old girl, and took some pressure off of a mom or dad or didn't know if they would have a Christmas. We will visit Savanna at her spot and bring her flowers and angels. We will share memories and laugh with friends and family. And we will EAT! :) It's not what I wanted, not at all what I imagined. But it's the cards we were dealt. And rather than being here in body, she is with us in spirit, and through God we are forever connected to her. 

Angel from Savanna's funeral service spray
The angel sits beautifully a top the tree with the surrounding lights glowing beautifully, the ornaments strategically placed, gifts wrapped neatly and placed underneath, the stockings hung from the fireplace, garland strewn throughout, the Christmas village radiating in the window.. And although it's not ideal and it's not at all what I want it to be, it somehow seems ok. It seems right. She came, accomplished her mission, and she left. And now, out of all the bad and the negativity that surrounds this, and all the bad there is in this world, some good will come out of this. There just has to be. 

My baby girl passing away was the most earth shattering and heartbreaking occurence, but somehow someway, something good will happen. She shared so much joy, laughter, and love with so many, that I must carry on her legacy. I have to, or her death would mean nothing.

So my point? We all have these plans, these ideas of how life should be. Of how traditions should be continuously carried on. But sometimes, God has different plans for us and plans change, traditions are shifted. 

When God throws you a curve ball, you don't duck out of the way, you hit it with all of your might and run like hell.

Dance with the angels baby girl..

2 blessings, thoughts. &. feelings:

Sweet Tooth™ said...

Tabs your words are so meaningful. i'm glad you are doing well. Merry Christmas to you, Justin and Savanna where ever she may be dancing =]

Brittney said...

I have to tell you, I love reading you're blogs. I am very clearly reminded of how I take times for granted... even though I try not too. Thank you for sharing this with me and everyone else. Not only has Savanna touched lives, but you lead her by example. You are a natural leader! ... And so is Savanna! Merry Christmas, Your family is still in our prayers and thoughts... you always will.