As I am writing this it is Christmas evening and we have had a wonderful day. We pulled off a “normal” Christmas for the boys even though nothing about our lives right now feels normal. We have spent the past few days making memories and preparing for everything that led up to a wonderful Christmas day.
This past weekend the boys enjoyed spending time with their Nana and Grandpa. We played outside, played ball inside with Grandpa, and made Christmas ornaments with Nana. As you can see, Caleb got a bit bored with the ornament making and started using some of the craft pieces to put pretend mustaches on us. What are you gonna do!? Our ornaments turned out cute anyways!
For part of Saturday, James and Tyler had a special Father Son date. Tyler had earned green smiley faces on his behavior chart at school for the last 2 weeks straight. We told him he could pick a special activity for doing so well, so he chose “glow bowling” with daddy. The “glow bowling” is the special bowling alley inside the huge Bass Pro Shop here. They have a really cool bowling alley area that is all fish themed and everything glows. The boys just think it’s so cool, so that is where Tyler wanted to spend his special time with daddy. He’s such a good big brother to Caleb, but the focus of our day to day lives is not often on him, so it was nice to be able to make him feel special.
Sunday we spent most of the day moving everything we needed for Christmas into our Airbnb. James and I decided a couple months ago that when our family comes in town for Christmas, it would be really nice to rent a house and all be together for a few days. So we chose an Airbnb not far from our apartment. We moved everything in, including our Christmas tree. We hid all the presents in a closet. We picked up all the food we needed. It took the better part of a day to get us all set up in there, but we knew it would be worth it to be able to all be together. Grandma and Bruce arrived in town that night and the boys were SO excited to see them!!!
Monday was Christmas Eve and it was finally time to relax and enjoy the holiday. We baked cookies and frosted them. I have done this every year since I was a little girl and for some reason I love it so much. The boys make a huge mess, and constantly just want to eat the frosting, but they love it too. It was fun for the family to be here to participate! Oh ya, and the adults enjoyed a few cocktails too!
One of my other favorite traditions is giving the boys Christmas Pajamas on Christmas Eve. While the boys were outside playing on their scooters I hid their Christmas Eve presents under the tree. When they came in they were so shocked and excited to find the first couple of presents they could open. They asked how the presents got there and I told them one of Santa’s elves must have snuck in and delivered a few for them early. They could not believe there had been an elf in the house and proceeded to run all over looking for him. I told them elves are very fast and they’ll never catch him!
We also made a huge dinner on Christmas Eve… Ham, Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad, Bread, Stuffing, etc… It was all so delicious. Ok “we” didn’t make it… Fresh Market made it. But we warmed it all up and it was delicious!! And mom did a beautiful job setting the table
We wrapped up Christmas Eve by leaving cookies for Santa, sprinkling “reindeer food” in the yard, and watching a family movie. For the last couple years we have watched The Grinch, and since that was the theme of our jammies this year we watched it again.
Once the kids were in bed it was time to go to work. We took all of the hidden presents out of the closet and placed them under the tree. I went to bed so excited for the boys to wake up in the morning!
The boys’ reactions to all the presents on Christmas morning did not disappoint. Their energy is so infectious, and their joy is so pure. They couldn’t believe how many presents Santa brought and couldn’t wait to tear into them. They were so wound up… they were both running around the living room dancing and spinning. It was either the excitement or the cookies I let them have for breakfast… probably both! HA HA
We spent the morning opening presents, first unwrapping them and then actually opening and putting batteries in all of them. The boys played with many things but still have a lot of toys left to open and play with in the coming days.
We ended the evening by watching The Grinch again, because the boys wanted to. During this time Caleb fell asleep on the couch. Before bed Grandma read Tyler her favorite Christmas book, The Polar Express. She brought her special copy of the book all the way to Memphis to be able to read it to us. We cried at the last page, as always. Tyler doesn’t totally understand that book yet, but he will some day.
The thing about Christmas is, it’s magical. It doesn’t matter where you spend it, it matters who you are with. I was sad about some family members that couldn’t be here, especially my grandmothers. But we were able to call and FaceTime and I know that they know the boys had a wonderful Christmas.
I was really happy and ok for the whole day until we put the kids to bed. Now I have no more Christmas distractions to take away from the fact that Caleb will do his first inpatient Chemo stay starting tomorrow. Grandma and Bruce are staying to help us take care of Tyler while James and I both try to be there for Caleb. He could get really sick, he could just be sleepy, or he might take it mostly ok. We are just nervous for the unknown right now. I am nervous to see how he will handle these stronger drugs. It’s also weighing on me that we are still in our first chemo cycle out of 5, so whatever happens we have to repeat it 4 more times after this. I don’t know what’s worse, the unknown or the fact that time just isn’t passing fast enough. I try to stay in the moment of each day, and not think too far ahead, but when all the festivities were over tonight it hit me hard. James and I sat together and reflected on how much has changed since last Christmas… we bought a house, sold our old house, moved into a rental house, found out Caleb had a brain tumor, moved to another city, and now here we are. Just a reminder that the future is definitely not certain. I hope and pray in 1 more year this Christmas will be a distant memory and we will be celebrating how far we’ve come from this moment right now. But for now, we will take things one day at a time. Merry Christmas and good night!