Yep, that is my family. Not all of it, but a good bit of it. In that photo is missing my oldest son, who lives in California, my oldest brother, who was in Texas for the Holiday, his daughter Meredith, who was spending time with her other PaPaw who is in the hospital, my niece Jessica and her husband Joe and their baby Olivia, they were in Massachusetts with Joe's family, and my nephew Dane and his wife Callie. He is in Texas in the Air Force and she is visiting him there before he is sent off to his next post.
We all gathered together at my brother Dan's house in Williamsburg for Thanksgiving. It was such an amazing day. Our family really is so wonderful. I use to think that is was my mom who brought us all together, and it probably was. But what makes me so happy, is that with my mom gone now, we make the effort to get together and spend the Holidays together. Even though we aren't always able to be physically together, we are all there in spirit, and I feel that. Life is hard. We all have our own families, responsibilities, schedules, etc. but we still make time. We still find a way. It isn't easy, it isn't spontaneous, but we make it happen.
It is true, I cried like a baby when we had to leave Thanksgiving night so that we could get my dad back home so he could be ready for his dialysis treatment in the morning and the rest of my family, kids included, stayed behind and continued to celebrate together. But, there were tears of joy mixed in with those tears of sadness. Joy that my kids felt comfortable staying behind to spend the night with their aunt and uncle so that they could visit with them longer. Joy that they were welcomed into my brother's home as if it were their own and could stay as long as they pleased. Joy that no matter how much time passes between our visits with each other, we pick right up as if it was just a matter of hours that we were all together last.
My family means the world to me. I am the only girl and the youngest of four children. I was and am still spoiled rotten. NOT spoiled ever with material things, but spoiled with unconditional, un-wavering love from my family. From my earliest memories, I have ALWAYS known that I was loved dearly by my mom, dad and all 3 of my older brothers. I never, ever doubted for a minute or even a second that I was loved. And I hope with all my heart that no one in my family has ever doubted my love for them. Our family is not perfect. We have our share of ups and downs and misunderstandings like all families do. But love always prevails.
I have been in some dark places recently in my mind. This happens to me from time to time. Bouts of depression are something that I battle constantly. But this Holiday season, even with my depressive times, I am starting to see how lucky I really am. I am fighting it and choosing to see the happy moments and the beauty in life. It is easy for me to dwell in the sadness and darkness. It is easy for me to be sad that my mom is not here to be with us. But what I have realized is that doesn't change anything. It won't bring my mom back and it won't make the memories I could be making, happy ones. I know my mom would not want me sacrificing happiness in order to keep her memory alive. That isn't necessary. Her memory will be kept alive even if I am happy and am enjoying the life that I still have to live. My mom loved the Holidays and would want all of us to enjoy them and
celebrate them as she raised us to do.
The past two days, I have been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching. Through my art, practicing yoga and just sitting and being, I have come to an inner peace and happiness I have not known in a while. I am in charge of my happiness. I am in charge of my misery. It is my choice to be one or the other. I choose happiness.
I leave you with a few photos that I took of some of the things that make me happy. Sites I see everyday that make me smile. Simple, un-pretentious sites that make me happy. May they make you smile too. Happy Holidays to you all.