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The First Christmas Without You

Well, it has basically taken me a week to even consider writing this. I finally posted about Christmas yesterday because I just couldn't do it before. Christmas didn't feel like Christmas without Adeline.

First off, I live in an amazing community. People from Canton collected money and then went shopping for our children. The three kids got to open an amazing array of gifts on Christmas Eve. It was heartwarming and I made it through the night laughing and not crying. We even got to surprise the kids with a new puppy. We got a black lab and his name is Lovebug since Adeline always named her favorite Roadblox pets the same. The puppy has been a pretty healing little guy. I have even taken him to cuddle a few times when I have felt like I needed therapy.

I hope that Lovebug can give Althea some peace when it comes to bedtime. She slept with Adeline every single night so I am not sure how long it will take for it to feel normal sleeping without her sister. At times having Lovebug around is so hard as well. Adeline LOVED puppies and I feel like I can almost hear her giggle running from this tiny little lab. Some days I close my eyes and feel like I can feel her running through the room. Those are the moments that are the hardest. All I want is to reach out, pick her up, and hold her against my chest. I want to just feel the weight of her pressed against me...but then the moment passes and I can refocus on the life at hand.

Christmas Eve went by pretty well. We stayed the night at my mom and dad's like planned, but I could not do the gingerbread house kits that we had there. She was excited about doing Gingerbread houses that I could not think about doing it yet. I know that I need to let the other kids do them, so I think that I am going to have to talk to my mom about her doing them with the kids instead of me because this year after talking about them the night before the fire, I just can't fathom doing them without her.

Christmas Day was another story. I felt like we woke in a fog. There was no little girl rising at dawn excited to see what Santa had brought. There was no one to believe in the magic of Santa, there was no one to believe in the magic of Christmas. We started the day with a small gift from Adeline. The last time that I had taken her shopping at Target she pointed at these small items and said mommy if we were picking out gifts for each other by ourselves, this is what I would get. I went and got those.

Then we let the kids open our gifts before my mom's and Uncle Tyler's. When it came to everything going on that day, I was not well. I kept having to take deep breaths, kept trying not to hyperventilate, and as soon as the kids were done I had to go sob and take a nap. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think and I certainly did not want the day to go on without my little girl. All the while, I was trying to find joy in my other three children. I wonder if Christmas will ever be what it was before the fire or if it will always be marked by this giant whole and intense sorrow.

As I sat looking for a picture of Adeline from a previous Christmas to share, I was forced to choose this picture from her first Christmas. I could not fathom being able to bear the pain that I am feeling when I see her excitedly opening presents or tightly hugging her friends' necks at one of the Christmas parties at school. I just can't see that perfect beautiful smiling face and write about that depth of sorrow at this moment. Perhaps, I will be ready to tackle that little piece by next Christmas. For now, I am going to share with you the story of Adeline's first Christmas.

Adeline's first Christmas was a busy one. We went to visit grandma Sherry and the family in Kansas where we stayed at this giant house together. It was so much fun and everyone got to meet our new baby. We came home after the weekend, during which we actually surprised the family since we were not planning on going. On Christmas Eve we went to church and on Christmas we celebrated, first at home and then at grandma Rara's and Papa Paul's. It was an amazing day and the love that swells up when I think about holding my dear sweet newborn Adeline feels really good. My soul no longer screams, but instead is filled with warmth. This was the right memory of Christmas with Adeline to share this year.

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