A Christmas “come apart”

From the Heart

I’ll be home for Christmas . . . if I make my connection in Atlanta with only a 45 minute lay-over. Yikes!

I’m in sunny Tampa as I write this, just two days before Christmas. This will be the first time since I became a mother that my kids won’t be together for Christmas with my mother. Emily and family in Tampa. Brandon and family in Noblesville. My mother, still on 12th Street, since 1952.

And yes, I anticipate a “come apart”. But it’s okay. It’s what happens when love spills from your heart.

A “come apart” has many definitions. At Christmas time it is when the love I have for family and friends collides with the memories of yesteryears. It is when the voices from empty chairs are heard over the clamor of children who never heard them.

A “come apart” comes out of nowhere and I cannot hold back the tears . . .

During the lighting of candles as I sing Silent Night on Christmas Eve. I look around at my family and I am reminded just how blessed a woman I am.

When shopping and I see a gift that my dad would love, only he’s not here to receive it.

When I explain to a grandchild, who never knew their Pop Pop, the reason Redbirds are scattered amongst the Christmas decorations.

When I wave goodbye and blow a kiss to my husband as he drops me off at the airport on Christmas Day. He will be home in Indiana in a few days. I realize how much my life has changed in the past five years and the feelings tip over my tear bucket. God gave me the desire of my heart when he brought Chuck Leonard into my life.

I walk by the boxes of chocolate covered cherries in the aisle at CVS and I remember how my dad would always have a box wrapped under the tree and the card said “To Bug, Love, Dad.” The tears trickle down my cheek as I smile. The tears are salty but oh so sweet.

As I wrap each gift I wonder if my family knows how much love is inside. It’s not just about the gift but the time and thought that goes into each one of them. I pray they know.

I want my family to know, long after I am the voice from the empty chair . . . that they were loved.

Memories and love. It’s what Christmas is all about. Yes, they may bring about a “come apart” but it’s a good thing.

And so, as I pray that I make my connection in Atlanta this woman also prays you all feel the love that will cause a “come apart” or two on Christmas.

I’ll be home for Christmas . . . always, in my memories.