It’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year, and in a lot of ways it still is.

Two short – and yet very long – years ago, J and I were gearing up to spend our first night in our new home. Young newlyweds with a toddler, we were the picture of a happy little family. As we put the finishing touches on the walls and swept up the last of the dust leftover from construction, we discussed all the extra space in F’s room for a crib – if we were lucky enough to have a second. We couldn’t wait to host our family and friends for a Christmas celebration in the upcoming evening. I never imagined then that it just be F and I from there on out, but so it is. 

Christmas is so heavily wrapped in tradition for many families that it brings a sense of loss and sadness when the holiday rolls around. Five years ago, there would be as many as 20 people sitting around my Nanny’s dining room table for Christmas Day dinner. This year, there will be 10. The emptiness fills the room, and there’s a precarious mixture of reminiscing and avoiding mention of loved ones now gone. 

But Christmas is a time of new beginnings, right at its core: the arrival of the baby Jesus. It’s a celebration of the magic of love. While I enjoyed seeing F’s eyes widen at the sight of what Santa brought him and the smiles of family members as they unwrapped their gifts, I’m mostly relishing in the opportunity to just be. Just sit with F and watch snow fall. Laying on the couch watching movies with Dad. Laughing at YouTube videos with Mom. Sitting around the table with food and drink and just feeling the warmth of family, friendship and love.

In spite of the pangs of sadness that have an amazing ability to sneak up on me, I’m filled with the joy and magic of the Christmas spirit, not because it’s easy but because it’s the decision I have made. Wherever you are, I pray you have a safe and happy holiday. Hug your loved ones, call a friend, spread some Christmas cheer!

And if you still feel sad, watch this video

Merry Christmas! 

best, love and smiles, ashley & family

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