Yesterday, after a full day of sitting at home with the kids, opening presents and playing with those presents, and then picking up after all those presents time and time again, we started to get all 5 children ready for bed. As I was helping my 6 year old, Faith, I asked her if she had a good Christmas. She nodded quickly with a smile and I added, “Best one yet?” She nodded again.
Suddenly, I regretted asking her that. And for a split second I was hurt by her response. Of course I did my best to give her the best Christmas I could, but Christmas will be forever missing her daddy. And that’s something I can’t give back. And, I’m thrilled that she enjoyed our first Christmas as a family of 7, with two new sisters and wonderful dad in her life that love her immensely. But my regret came from feeling like I made her choose between her life before and her life now. Obviously, that’s absurd but that’s how I felt in the moment.
As a widow, I am always careful about using phrases like “best day ever” or “best time ever” because it always feels like that is somehow disrespecting the life I had with Jeremy. Like if I say it, it means Jeremy suddenly means less to me. So I steer clear of theses phrases of absolutes. I surprised even myself when I asked Faith if she had the best Christmas ever. I got caught up in the joy of a child-like excitement and when I heard her answer, it suddenly brought me back to reality.
I don’t want that to bother me. I want all of our kids to be able to have the best Christmas ever. When I really sat on it, I realized that I, too, enjoyed Christmas this year. What a far cry that has been from my last two Christmas’ and I was so thankful to have a happy home this year and to make new memories and new traditions. Even though grief is always hovering, there was a lot of joy too. But enjoying it made me feel guilty.
I’d hate to think that my best moments are behind me. I have wonderful memories, but I know I’m not done making them. And so, I smile knowing that I can make good memories still, even some of my best, without comparing the life I had with Jeremy.
I’m glad Faith had the best Christmas ever. And I think Jeremy is glad, too.
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