Everyone slept well that night and I was awakened (at 8:25am- thank God) to this:
It was a great morning just relaxing at home with our own family of 4. We took some time to just relax and gear up for Full Family Christmas dinner that afternoon.
Later that day, we met our entire (and I mean ENTIRE, like 40 person entire) family at my parents' house for Christmas dinner. It was a nice evening with family and great food.
Out of all the days and meals where we celebrated Christmas last week, this meal was the toughest for me. That evening, we had 40+ people in my parents house, and while we were filling every room, there were two spots that were so painfully left empty. I could barely breathe at times and found myself just consumed with sadness and longing for the Christmas's of years past where my family was whole. I never, ever once took for granted how lucky I was to have all four of my grandparents near me for 29 years and how lucky we were that my children had their four grandparents who saw them multiple times each week every week, Or how, from the time Chad and I started dating, every holiday was spent ALL together as ONE family. I knew that was unique, and I knew that was special. But it doesn't make it any easier now that all that has changed. I think my kids are adjusting better than I am these days, and I would not have it any other way. My children still feel loved and safe, and that's all that matters to me. For me, that is a true gift this holiday season, and I am grateful that, with each passing day, our faith is only growing stronger and our love continues to hold us together.