I’m a December baby. I’ve always loved December. There’s St.Nicholas day, my birthday, Christmas Eve services, Christmas Day, decorations, traditions, cookies. I love it. I know Christmas and this season is hard, for alot of people, and I can see why it would be. Family time, cold weather, darkdays, normal schedules interruptedtraditions that hold baggage. There is a lot happening in this month and why itcould be hard for some has never been lost on me. I try to honor them bylistening and empathizing with their feelings. For myself though, this monthhas always brought me happiness and joy. Christmas is my favorite. My lovelanguage is gifts and having a time setaside to buying gifts, giving gifts, receiving gifts, it sort of makes my heartexplode.

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Four years ago (on my birthday) Gavyn had a shunt malfunction and landed us in the ER. It was the tip of the iceberg of a year that wouldn’t quit and ended up being one of the hardest weeks of our lives. A normal shunt malfunction would have been surgery one day and go home the next. As far as brain surgery goes it is simple and fast. Gavyn’s brain decided to not cooperate, and he ended up having two brain surgeries within a week and a few days in ICU. During our ICU stay the boy in the room next to Gavyn’s passed away. There has not been a year since that during this week I don’t think of them and grieve. I wonder what this time of year feels like for them now. I wonder if they have healed at all. I wonder if they were able to grieve well or if grief consumed them and destroyed parts of their lives. I wonder if they found God, lost God, or hate Him.

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That December changed me. It still changes me. It reminds me why I need Jesus. It makes me wonder how I would have grieved at that moment. I’ve faced the mortality of my son before and I wonder if I will have to walk him to the other side one day. I wonder if I would do it well. Denial has never helped me, and I process this ‘what if’ because I know it will help me if I have to face it, and it helps meeven if I never do.

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Learning what it means to say Present this year has given me joy in my kids I don’t think I had before. I’m lighter now. I’m less burdened with worry. I’m focused on this moment and this day. I’m not perfect and I fail with those things a lot. But this word, this year, it helped me in ways I didn’t expect. Even this December, during this week, when I remember what happened to us, to that momma, it helps to ground me. To let myself experience the emotions as they come, face them, and release them. Yes, I may walk through the valley of death for my son, but not today. Today I’ll get him from the bus, smiles, and freckles galore, hug him, and hear about his day.