It's finally Christmas time!

My sister, her husband, my niece and nephew, Mom and Nana will be here today. I'm so excited to have the family here together for the day!

Sharla and I were talking about how strange it will also be, though.. without Dad. Like she mentioned, shopping was weird... We've both seen so many funny gift ideas and thought- oh, this would be great for dad... (he loved everything bizarre and unusual).. Yesterday I was chopping veggies and getting snacks ready, and I remembered how Dad would sit at the bar (pretty much the entirety of any family gathering) picking at the veggies and dip, chips, and crackers and pepperoni... He won't be here to be the designated wrapping paper garbage bag holder.. or to take all the wires off the toys and get them out of their boxes... or to hug and kiss, and say I love you...
Mom forewarned me that she had a couple personal gifts for the two boys that might get us all teared up... She's giving Colby a model corvette that Dad had. Colby plays with it every time he's at Mom's. And she's giving Dawson Dad's leather cap. These are priceless gifts. And I am excited to see Dawson put on Dad's hat.. I'm not so excited about crying like a baby, but hey, that's alright. Hopefully he doesn't get too upset, he is a bit more tender than most. We'll get through it.. We'll all get through the day.
I love you Dad. Miss you. Merry Christmas.

And then there will be Christmas day..
The kids will be here until noon, and then they're off to their Dad's. I'm accustomed to that. But it's a little different this year. I'll be alone for the first Christmas in a few years.
Oddly, I'm not that concerned about it at the moment. I'm too excited about the next 24 hours. I know it will be very difficult when the time comes, but I will handle it. I'm a big girl.
I'm just happy that the family will be here tonight, and that my kids will wake up together in the morning. With everything going on between Logan and I, and her staying with her dad, this would have been the first year that the kids weren't here together at the same time over Christmas. And I had been so sad about that, for a while now.. And then Logan told me that she had decided to stay here overnight on Christmas eve. That is one of my Christmas blessings this year, and the best gift I could have asked for.

I say "one of my Christmas blessings", because I do recognize that I have many, no matter how hard life seems to be for us right now...
I am blessed that my children are healthy, and well cared for, and loved.
I am blessed that, even though my father is gone, I am still surrounded by a loving family, both close and extended. My children, sister, mother, Nana, niece and nephew, aunts and uncles, and countless cousins.
I am blessed that, even though they may be very few, I have some of the best friends a person could ask for.
I am blessed that I still have my health, no matter how old and decrepit I may feel at times.. lol... That I am still here to kiss my children.
I am blessed that, even though I have to move in the near future, I still have a roof over my head for now, and a place to call home, thanks to my sister.
I am blessed that I'm finally back to work, and that I also found a second job.

But with all those blessings, I am still sad. On a daily basis. Love lost is always a heartbreaking experience. But when that love comes with conditions and inequality, it is not true love, actually, at all. And so, I am trying to recognize that as a blessing as well. And I will do my best to let it continue to be a blessing, and not hinder our Christmas, or our lives, any more than it already has.

Merry Christmas everyone, and count your blessings!