As the holidays approach, our hearts ache to celebrate with all of our kids. Thanksgiving has always had meaning of thanks and family to me. I have to admit, I feel a lot less “thankful” this year than I have in past years. Sometimes the sadness clouds my brain and heart so much I am bitter. Payton loved Thanksgiving. He especially loved mashed potatoes and gravy and dessert. It hurts so bad knowing he will not be sitting at the table this year. Thanksgiving night the kids rummage through the Thanksgiving newspaper ads showing us parents what they want for Christmas. The excitement in their voices is apparent as they find something really awesome. There will be an excited voice missing this year, maybe we won’t even do that this year. Everything has changed. Nothing is, or ever will be, the same.
We decided we did not want to get a tree, or celebrate Christmas at our house anymore. We would take the kids shopping instead. Payton was the only one who believed in Santa Claus anymore, he was the only one who believed in the magic of the Elf on the Shelf. Ours was named “Oliver”. Oliver will stay in his box this year. The magic is gone from our home…I thought I might have another year, maybe two, of magic left in our home, and a lifetime of memories with ALL of my kids. Maddi is still only 11 and wants to get a tree and open presents Christmas morning, so we will do it for her. I know I can’t handle going to the tree farm without Payton, as that was something he loved doing, so we will have a fake tree. My anxiety is high, thinking about pulling out the Christmas ornaments. Payton’s little hand print ornaments, the bulbs with his name on them, and seeing how few he lived long enough to make will just send me into a crying fit. Even happy memories can send you to tears in grief.
Each year at Christmas time the kids and I would make and decorate sugar cookies for the kids to take to school and share with their classes. I no longer have a child in elementary school and the boys don’t care to do anything with us parents, but maybe Maddi and I will make some cookies to eat ourselves. All of my living children officially rhink they’re “too big” for Santa’s lap. Payton still loved having his picture taken with Santa. All of our traditions have changed. Every. Single. One. Everything just feels so wrong without our boy. Can we just skip the holidays this year?
Not only do I grieve the loss of my boy, but I grieve the loss of myself. I was the mom of a hectic home of 6, our home is now quiet and rather lame without our wild little boy running around. I imagine this is somewhat the feeling parents get when their kids “leave the nest”, except one of mine is never coming back to visit, or calling to borrow money, or asking for advice, and he didn’t “leave gradually” like they do when they’re older- slowly becoming independent and not being home as much.
So I wait. I wait to someday become a grandma. I wait to find true, full happiness in life again. We have happy moments but true happiness has become a thing of the past.