This Christmas...It's a Special One For Us Indeed

The holidays are always hard for me to get through for varying reasons, as I know they are for a lot of people, particularly those of us who live with mental illness. The one thing that I've been focused on amidst all the frenzy of the holiday season and my own erratic moods is simply being grateful that life for the boys and I is not what it was this time last year. Bertski and I weren't together and it was our first time navigating the tricky process of splitting the holidays with Alex. I hated it. It was lonely...I felt awful that I had contributed to my boys not being able to spend the holidays together, with both of their parents. Christmas was especially difficult for me, and also for Brennan. He kept asking when Alex was coming back, why Alex and Bertski were in Philly and not with us, and I kept fighting back tears and despairing thoughts. I felt hollow, emotionally cold, my mind was dark, and I just wanted it all to be over with. I was angry...bitterness had started to settle in my heart.

This Christmas, however, things are COMPLETELY different. If you've been reading along these past months, you know this. Instead of trying to navigate the ups and downs of co-parenting while forging lives independent of each other, Bertski and I are finally finding our way down a path that allows us to be parents AND a couple, building and living a family centric lifestyle-a first for both of us.

This Christmas I also find myself being grateful to say goodbye to life as a single mother and preparing myself to experience the holidays in the years to come as a wife. I don't regret having to learn the ins and outs of parenting and how to balance the responsibility of it on both of my shoulders. The past 5 1/2 years have taught me a significant amount about myself...about life. It changed me into a new person, someone capable of doing things I didn't think I'd be able to handle on my own.  I'm grateful for the life I lived as a single parent, but I'm also ready to say goodbye to it. I'm ready to move forward with someone not only willing to share the responsibility of parenting, but also willing to build a life with me. That's huge for me. I'm used to people walking out of my life and removing me from theirs in one way or another, for varying reasons. I don't always blame them, but it's always left me feeling abandoned and unworthy of so many things-like having a family and a partner. To have someone see the value and worth I see in myself and decide to embrace and cherish it, cherish me, is the one gift I've begged for since I was a child and never received-until now.

When Bertski asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told him I wanted nothing and it was the honest truth.  There is nothing material he would've purchased at a store that would've meant more to me than the gift of love I've found in our family and in my friends this year-my heart is too full to hold in anything else.

I hope that if you find yourself feeling lonely or down for whatever reason today you will be able to at least find one thing you can fix your mind on to get you through today and even into the new year just a few days away.  I hope that no matter what you find yourself struggling with in life today, that at least in one way, no matter how small or trivial it may seem, you are better than you were last year. Take some time to reflect on what that one thing make this day a special one for you, one that allows grace and gratitude to abide in your's working for me :)

Merry Christmas y'all. Now...enjoy the brilliant weirdness that is Cee-Lo Green's Magic Moment. Seriously.