If I wrote this the Thursday before Christmas, it would be an entirely different post. To say that I was stressed would be a vast understatement of my feelings. Thursday night, still in Austin after a series of bad luck events, I went to bed feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and not at all Christmassy.
In fact, I wrote the following on a very quiet drive to Beaumont early Friday morning.
“This is the worst Christmas ever.”
That’s what I said through frustrated tears last night and again this morning – and so far, it was true.
We started what I knew deep in my bones would be an amazing adventure over a month ago. It was a wild step towards creating a better future for our little family. We had dreams and we would be on our way to making those dreams a reality.
But then the hits came. One after another, landing each sucker punch until Andy and I took turns dropping to our knees. But neither of us dropped at the same time. When I was stressed, he would lift me up. When he was stressed, I was there to cheer him on. Last night though, we both dropped.
Andy and I often talk about how other people view our adventures. We are often told things like “I’d love to do something like that!” or “Wow, must be nice.” But it isn’t often that those looking in see the struggle of getting to the positive side of a dream. Honestly, it’s not their fault. We don’t always show the struggle, the hardship, the negative. Sometimes, when you are in the midst of it, you can’t hear the naysayers and the people predicting that you will fail. It’s hard enough when that inner voice starts piping up asking if you finally overestimated yourself.
But… once you get through the hard work and succeed… it feels SO GOOD to broadcast the celebration, the positive, the “We made it happen!”
For this adventure, I don’t want to only show the positive. I also want to put on display the struggle and the work that goes into making it happen. It truly is a work of blood, sweat, and tears.
Andy was late, working hard to catch up on projects, Gigi was sick, I was sick, and we have been delayed on both water and electricity again. We won’t be moved to our new property until after the New Year now. Each delay is costing us time and money – and it seems we are running out of both. All during Christmas. Which means, I am also suffering from mom guilt for not being able to give my daughter the fabulous Christmas I feel her sweet self deserves.
So, at 730am on Christmas Eve, finally making the drive to Beaumont with a list of things I need to get done before Christmas day, I declared it the worst Christmas ever with only a tiny shred of hope that maybe it would get better.
So, what changed? Why isn’t this post titled “Worst Christmas Ever?”
Once we finally got to Beaumont, we were greeted by family. I made the desserts needed for Christmas day while Keira got to play and visit with her PawPaw. I got a shower before family arrived for Christmas Eve dinner and slowly the stress started to melt.
Keira got to open a few gifts on Christmas Eve and her complete joy at EVERYTHING acted as a balm to my soul.
My father-in-law helped me make turkey – for the first time – to bring to my family on Christmas day. We smoked it low and slow for nearly 12 hours and, on Christmas, we had the juiciest, most flavorful turkey I have ever had. It was the perfect Christmas miracle.
On Christmas day, we woke to pancakes and Keira started an impromptu Christmas dance party. She loves music and was so happy to twirl and rock to every Christmas song, especially the Grinch.
Every gift she unwrapped on Christmas day was a wonder. I didn’t need to worry about the number of gifts or how much I spent. She loved everything and watching her filled me with the Christmas joy I was so afraid I wouldn’t feel this year.
Christmas as a parent holds its own kind of magic. Her little smile and happy laugh were my favorite gifts of the season.
Christmas afternoon, my mom watched Keira while Andy and I got to enjoy a movie date – just the two of us. Time alone is such a rarity that I soaked in every second of just sitting in a theater, holding my husband’s hand. Once the movie was over, we picked up Keira and visited a few friends. We got back to my father-in-law’s home late Christmas night, but it was such a fun day of family and friends, that we just felt revived.
We came home the next day to more work and delays, but our determination was restored. We even stopped by our property in Smithville to remind ourselves why we started this adventure in the first place.
Now, as we approach the New Year, we may not be within the timeframe that we hoped, but things are moving forward. We will soon be in Smithville and the real work can begin. First on my list, is painting and readying the living space framed out in the shop so that Keira and I can have a little more room to spread out. And getting internet – I miss Netflix and Hulu.
Yes, things are finally moving forward, and it was not the worst Christmas ever. In fact, it contained enough Christmas magic that we were able to tackle the final push to Smithville with renewed energy. Look out 2022, we are going to make our dreams come true! And chasing your dreams and living a life of risk and adventure is not for the faint of heart – but the payoff is so very worth it.