So where did we go? Disney World Magic Kingdom, the beach and Sea World. It was an amazing vacation filled with unforgettable memories and, at times, overwhelming sadness. My boys were never far from memory. Our vacation timing, right over Christmas, was not a coincidence. Christmas has always been special to my husband and I since we married just before Christmas twelve years ago. We spent part of our honeymoon at Disney World and the beach. I have long wanted to share that trip with my children.
But there was a hidden agenda to the trip and the timing. Part of it was the above and part was just escaping what has some years become sheer madness at the holidays with family, presents, lists, cooking, etc. I needed a year off, some breathing space. Some space to grieve too. One of our favorite things to do at Christmastime is to visit our sons' graves on Christmas Eve to deliver their presents and see their sweet little Christmas tree lit up in the snow. With all of the other goings on the time left for that special trip has become less and less and things just weren't on the right track.
So we packed up and went to Florida, just us and our four little ones. I bought Wyatt and Eli Mickey Mouse ears with their names embroidered on the back and barely managed to avoid the awkward conversation about who Wyatt & Eli were with the store clerk. I have a pair of ears myself from my first trip to Disneyland and a Minnie pair from my first trip to Disney World and we purchased each of the girls their own so it was very important for me to get the boys their ears since this would have been their first trip too. I wrote their names in the sand at the beach and at Sea World we got them a Shamu and dolphin for their graves this Christmas.
Those aren't the moments that got me though. Grief was complicated. I almost lost it on the airplane with my extremely fussy 20 month old exhausted and sleeping on my lap. When Cinderella's castle was lit with hundreds and maybe thousands of Christmas lights so it sparkled from bottom to top my eyes sparkled too.
I learned yet another lesson. It doesn't matter where I am, how happy or distracted, how sad or uncomfortable, how busy or how stressed, the holidays will always have the same effect on me and my boys will always be extra close to my heart in those days.
Santa, you can commit this wish to memory because it will NEVER change: all I want for Christmas is my whole family to be together. My second oldest told me out of the blue that she wished Santa would bring something for Wyatt and Eli. She remembered this wish when we arrived home late Christmas evening and she looked at the two empty stockings. If only.