A year ago today, I was pregnant with the littlest Chicken of all and exploring the streets of an old Moor city with my older Chickens. MP and I had taken our first international vacation, excited to introduce our Chickens to their cousins, Aunts and Uncles.
It was both the best Christmas and the worst Christmas.
International travel is exhausting. Add pregnancy, two toddlers, and holiday and weather travel chaos and you have ONE TIRED mommy.
But it was beautiful. It was wonderful watching my Chickens embrace another culture with cousins that will probably not ever have U.S. counterparts. It was a time of of yummy food and late night parties…and giggles and stories. It was the happiest (and last) Christmas with some of the best in-laws I could have ever imagined.
It was exhausting. But, it was also a story of what Christmas really is.
Christmas is time-shared stories-told, laughter-laughed.
Christmas is a cuddly feeling of family.
Snuggly pajamas and too much chocolate.
It is a feeling of appreciating, loving and gratitude.
And a feeling of being appreciated, loved and valued.
I am truly blessed in my trip down memory lane remembering my last Christmas as a “family” in such loving light.
Today, Christmas is new.
I miss my family across the seas.
But, I celebrate my new family…and hold dear to my heart the stories that make up Christmas past.
I am surrounded by family; the parents, siblings, friends and Chickens that remind every day I have a world to celebrate.
I sit here and write and listen to the happy babbling of of Baby Chicken and look into her smiling eyes. I sit in the bedroom doorway and watch Princess and Little Man Chickens sleep cozy in their bed; their steady breathing reminding me to be steady in mine.
Christmas is about the magic of believing.
And this Christmas I remind myself to believe.
Believe in my own strength to remain as happy and as steady as my Chickens.
Believe in the love my family and friends and I share to get us all through the bumps of life.
Believe that I am exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing with exactly the right people.
As exquisitely stated in the Polar Express, “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are things we can’t see.”
This last year has brought about changes I never expected. Changes I didn’t quite like. And changes I am still struggling to accept.
Yet, I carry the magic of Christmas is my heart because I believe.
The snuggles and smells, smiles and laughter, memories and chocolate are all here.
So, as I had been waiting for Christmas to arrive with a mild trepidation, I went to bed last night knowing I had gone about it all the wrong way.
Christmas has been here all along.
I didn’t see it because I didn’t think it would get here.
As the Chickens stumble down the stairs this morning, eager to see if the jolly old elf has made a stop at our little piece of suburbia, I smile.
The magic of Christmas is here.
Wishing warm memories and the gift of belief to everyone.