It is Christmas Morning 2012 and the girls are sleeping soundly because it is still only 3:45 am. I have tossed and turned all night long and can’t seem to rest completely. I am eager to see how the girls react not only to their Santa gift but also to their gift from me. I probably did the single mother guilt overboard gift giving this year as I purchased them both a mini iPad. However, they both know how to use them and they both use mine and fight over using mine so I figured I might as well get them one their size and let them use it for their benefit. I put games and activities appropriate for each child on their tablet. They will be so excited in the morning. I also bought mom and dad their very own iPad this year and I pray they also enjoy theirs. For mamaw she is going to be thrilled with her blanket with all the grandchildren’s names and our family names on it. She will enjoy tremendously the thought it took behind such a gift. She will also enjoy just watching the girls, as their granny, she is thrilled, just to be a part of their lives and I am blessed to still have her around.
My parents opened their “stocking bag” last night and we played the first game of Deluxe Scrabble together. It was a lot of fun. Mom beat me by one silly point. Yet, she still won fair and square. Dad on the other hand tries his best to make words that are slang sound like real words just to make his words fit on the board, it is too cute to watch and listen to him try and elicit and reason behind his thought process. Regardless, it was fun just playing a game with my parents like we did back a long time ago when I was a child still at home. I miss those days.
We had no trouble convincing the children to go to bed because they were so tired and they wanted Santa to come on to the house quickly. My dad even fibbed and told them he saw on the radar that Santa was in Virginia headed towards Raleigh and then Greensboro. The girls were familiar with the location of Raleigh and so they quickly didn’t argue and fell fast asleep. I was able to finish their stockings and prepare their Santa gifts quickly. Santa brought them name puzzles, books with their own bear and name, sleep light pillows, and a Karaoke machine. I think I am most excited to see them use the Karaoke machine myself.
I realize this is the 2nd Christmas we have spent the night with mom and dad. This year feels different, it feels better. I am less stressed and less emotional at this very moment. Of course that can all change in a matter of minutes but last year I was still crying constantly. I am so thankful to feel some release. I still miss the presence of Dennis on these big holidays and can’t help but think of the impact it has on the children but I stand on the promises of God that he is our Father and He will never forsake us and that maybe, just maybe, Dennis regrets his decision and he is spending this Christmas in tears wishing he could come home.
It amazes me how far along this journey we have come as a family of three but we haven’t done it alone. In fact, we aren’t a family of three anymore. We are a mom, two little girls and a huge church family, friends, and grandparents that support us financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically the past year and a half. My girls have grown to be loved and nurtured by so many people and some even more so than myself. I have been nurtured and learned from so many women and men of God as well. My life has forever been changed.
The past year and a half I have sought out ways to punish myself for not being a good mother, for not being a wife that could intercede on behalf of Dennis and prevent the decision he made, for not being the teacher everyone expected me, for not being emotionally strong as I wanted and others expected from me after a period of grieving. I began self-injurious behaviors, attempted suicide, isolation, entered deep depression, and suffered severe panic and anxiety attacks. Some of these symptoms still plague me today but they do not define who I am. Why? Because who I am is a child of God and I am His creation. He made me wonderfully and beautiful. He doesn’t wish for me to harm myself anymore. He has plans for me to prosper (Jer 29:11). He wants me to simply rely on Him for the strength I need to cope with the panic, anxiety and depression that I face as a result of my diagnosis of a mental illness. He doesn’t wish that this keep me from sharing His word or reaching women with my story.
Instead, God has given me a clear vision of a path that shows one day I will share this painful yet beautiful journey of challenges that changed my life forever with many women so that they may also be blessed and understand that they too can be forgiven and live through tragedies that life brings their way. Until then, I wait for the whisper of the Holy Spirit to speak to me, I soak up His word like a sponge, I follow doctor orders while on medical leave of absence, I attend counseling sessions for help with my own emotional well-being, and I work hard to be the best mom that God would have me to be for my little girls. I want to be the best Jesus they ever see this side of heaven.