12.08.14Okay Moments

This past week, I went over to my Dad’s house and helped him set up his tree. I don’t know what tree trimming looks like in your family, but, growing up, it was a BIG DEAL in my house. We would all pile into the van and pick out the perfect tree from the lot (usually not without lots of fighting and more than a few tears). Then, we’d wait impatiently while my Dad applied flame retardant to it (smart man) and set it out to dry overnight.

The next day, we’d be counting down the hours until decorating time. My Mom would pull out yummy Christmas treats and we’d attack the tray of cookies and wassel while my Dad put on festive music. Then, we’d slowly pull out each ornament, each of us eager to claim our own. We’d ooh and ahh, sharing stories it brought to mind, and then carefully place it on the tree.tree_okay moments

Every year, my Mom would also pick out a new ornament for each of us, wrapping it in a festive box with a note taped to the inside of the lid. We couldn’t wait to see what she had chosen for us. At the time, I remember thinking her notes with verses of Scripture included were a little silly. But, over the years, these pieces of paper have grown so precious. They enrich the tree-trimming experience as we read her thoughtful words.Christmas Lid

This year though, she’s not home to enjoy tree trimming, or any other festivities for that matter. My Dad had to make the heartbreaking decision to move her into a nursing home in early 2013. And, while she’s receiving phenomenal care there, she’s still there—not at home with her husband of thirty-plus years.

When I asked my Dad if he’d be okay with me coming over to decorate, I could sense his hesitation. It was going to be painful hanging those ornaments without his best friend. But, he gamely agreed. And, you know what? It wasn’t nearly as cheery and festive as it had been in years past. But, it wasn’t awful either.

We put on music, brewed some decaf, and made fun of the goofy ornaments in my parents’ collection. All in all, an okay night. In seasons like this, when heartache is intensified and loss magnified as you see other families celebrating together, I think an okay night is actually a really big win. We’ll take it.

Which okay moments are actually big wins for you this holiday season?

8 thoughts on “Okay Moments

  1. Aunt Sheryl

    The seasons of the year come and go. Some are easier and more smooth than others. However, the seasons of life are where our faith meets really living out our trust in our Savior. So proud of y, Shannon, as you embark on this journey and share with all of us! Love you!

    1. Shannon Post author

      Thank you, friend. New normals can be awkward and painful—but I’m so grateful for God’s grace. Love you, too!

  2. Marilyn Schulz

    Shannon, I fondly recall the first Christmas season after I placed Grandpa in the nursing home. I was exhausted and had no reserve with which to “do Christmas.” But I came home one evening and found your decorative note taped to the garage door: “Merry Christmas Grandma … We (heart) love you a whole lot. The Wilke’s.” Inside was a lovingly chosen tree, decorated with all the Christmas ornaments collected throughout our then 35 years of marriage. Needless to say, I cried, and thanked the Lord for my amazingly thoughtful, caring, loving family. Thank you, Shannon, for continuing the tradition begun by your mom and dad that day in 1994! With all my love, Grandma

    1. Shannon Post author

      Grandma, I love this! Thank you for reminding me of such a sweet moment. I totally remember feeling super excited to be your sneaky Christmas elves that year. 🙂

  3. Denise Beckhart

    This touches my heart, Shannon. Your dear grandmother’s comment as well. I just finished a CD for your Mom and will mail it soon. Our Christmas is OK too. But, nothing like they used to be for us either. A smaller tree, my daughter and I too ill to really contribute much to decorating, fewer ornaments on the tree, more still in the garage. No lights get hung outside, no energy left in my husband, who takes care of us. We play Amy Grant’s Christmas album, but no homemade Christmas cookies and candy anymore. We just began a new tradition of a tin of Danish butter cookies instead, and store bought eggnog. It works! With my daughter here, there is no family advent time, as she no longer follows the Lord and PTSD from spiritual abuse keeps her from being around if we do pray, etc.
    Illness keeps my parents, brother and me from being together, and my youngest brother went to be with the Lord 7 years ago. How I miss church services, caroling, and Christmas parties with friends. But we can give to the local rescue mission and food bank, and that is a more than OK thing at Christmas.
    Life is so different now… but Jesus is constant. He is our strength. We have all we need in His eyes, good memories, the loved ones we have left, and HIM, and His inheritance!
    Thank you, Shannon.

    1. Shannon Post author

      Denise, thank you so much for sharing this! So grateful, too, that Jesus is constant. Praying your new traditions bring you joy as you spend time with your family! 🙂


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