Christmas 2018

Eddie reads the greeting for the children’s Advent service

We didn’t get a white Christmas this year, but we had a wonderfully memorable holiday nonetheless. I have been looking forward to Christmas since May when we began planning my chemo/radiation treatment schedules. I knew I would be close to done by Christmas. I knew I would have hair again by Christmas. I just had to make it to Christmas.

And here we are.

Alice (far left) was part of the team of angels during the children’s Advent play

Today I will have my 20th radiation treatment which means only 10 more after today. We can see the end.

Charlie (in the red) was the star for the children’s Advent play

Our Holiday season was filled with joy and comfort thanks to family and friends and tradition.

Second annual Granny’s Girls Bake-a-Thon (Alice on the far right with her Sluiter-side girl cousins rolling peanut butter balls)

I’ve said it before, but having children and seeing Christmas through their eyes really makes it all feel new again. The excitement is palpable as we move the Santa another day closer to the 25th on our Christmas Countdown.

Heading to Granny’s house on Christmas Eve for our first family party (Alice was excited. She was just also mad at Eddie)

After the year we’ve had, I felt more gratitude and love toward my family than ever before. We have leaned heavily on their love and prayers. Their smiles and laughter and hugs were the best part of the holiday. Seeing everyone together made me so thankful for my life.

Santa came! Opening stockings on Christmas morning!
Slippers from Santa!

Eddie still believes in Santa. He’s nine and a half, so I’m not sure how much longer we have. And I am positive that once Eddie knows “the truth,” Charlie will not be far behind. This may very well be our last year with all three believing.

The joy of having kids who believe in Santa and create notes for him is fleeting, and I have loved every minute of it.

Gifts offered to Santa from Charlie, Eddie, and Alice. Plus cookies and a carrot for Rudolf.
Santa’s letter to the Sluiter kids

Cortney and I had to remind ourselves that even with the wonder of Christmas, our kids are still, well themselves. There was arguing and fighting and tears, but there were also “thank you’s!” and hugs and lots and lots of smiles.

Charlie and I get ready for the final party of the year at Grandpa and Grandma’s house

As usual, my mind wandered back in time to Christmases of my childhood. I missed my Grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve with the turkey and shrimp and crab dip and treats and whiskey slush that all the adults drank and which I thought smelled horrible.

Alice opens a gift from her Grandpa and Grandma

I thought about my Grandparent’s house on Christmas Day with chocolate seafoam and absolutely no order to handing out gifts.

Eddie gets some clothes…and likes it.

I tried to remember when I stopped believing in Santa and realized that I never had a moment when I stopped. After awhile I knew that my parents did it, but there was never a coming of age moment when I was crushed by it. And until I was married, my mom kept a stocking for me at their house, and Santa came and stuffed it each Christmas morning.

I am forever grateful for that because even though I clearly knew it was her, there was a certain love that went into keeping a piece of childhood alive until I was ready to marry and start my own traditions.

So now our house is filled with new things scattered about. We all have Lego sets to build and clothes to wash and put away. We have the joy of family in our hearts and tummies full of appetizers as meals and treats by the handful.

We turn our faces toward 2019 with a peaceful comfort, but also a hopeful anticipation.

We are now ready to tackle mental, emotional, and physical wellness in this new year.

We are ready for new.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.