We had a jumpin’ weekend here in the MC household. My mom came down Friday night and stayed with the kids while Chris and I got gussied up and had a nice date night… where we spent the second half of the meal in a HUGE, candlelit, whispered fight about holiday plans. Good times. But actually, we had been needing to have that little discussion and no matter where or when we had it, it was going to be messy. So, might as well enjoy a little Bang Bang Shrimp while we hashed out our plans.
I have been saving gift cards for months for this date night, and the fact that we had a huge, five-course meal with tiny little martinis that only cost us $4.00 sort of dulled the drama of the fight (or maybe that was those tiny little martinis???). By the time we paid the bill, Chris and I were high-fiving our thriftiness. And it did not slip our attention that this was yet ANOTHER example of God providing (I think we’re up to over $500 in freebies we’ve received since we started praying about our family budget…).
My mom spent the night on Friday night because we were going to go to a big arts festival all day on Saturday, but the weather did not cooperate. We were all sort of in the Christmas spirit, though, so we headed to the mall instead to visit Santa. The Santa we saw is the best in town, and the line for him can be HOURS long. In fact, we’ve never actually made it to him before because the crowds are so ridiculous. But this year, we decided to go before Thanksgiving. We figured we would be so early that the crowds would be minimal.
We still waited an hour to see him, but it was worth it.
The look on Gracie’s face in this next picture sort of sums up her feelings about Santa Claus. She is obsessed with him this year. She talks about Santa all the time right now. She squeals when we see him in books or on TV, and she has talked about wanting to go visit him for weeks. But when we actually got in line, her feelings changed a bit. She was none too pleased to have him sitting there in person. So, Chris held her while Bean went up to see Santa.
Bean Man is at the ideal Santa age. He had his little list of things he wanted to ask for, he told Santa what a good boy he was, and he was in awe as he sat there with him and talked. It was really magical to watch. You could tell he was a little nervous, but Bean just KNEW this was his chance to place his Christmas order for all the Ninja Turtles in the world… and so he manned up and did the job. I was so proud of him!
Truthfully, I’ve been a little blue the past week. I think it’s because Thanksgiving is coming and I’ve been missing my dad. I don’t know that holidays will ever be the same without him. For the past week, I have woken up in the mornings and felt that weight on my chest like something I’m dreading was coming that day. But I check my calendar every day and remind myself that nothing is wrong, nothing is coming. Finally, I realized that this is about the holidays coming. I bet this is me bracing myself for the another holiday season without my dad.
Which is why I am so grateful for weekends like this with family and festivities. They remind me that things are still good. That life is still full and rich. That God is still present and providing. I take weekends like these and I tuck all that goodness away in my heart so that when the holidays are here and the sadness comes, I can take these memories out and wrap myself in them. And while that certainly doesn’t extinguish the sadness, it at least coats it in love and joy, and that makes it a little easier to bear.