A No Regrets Christmas by Rebeca Jones Our Community Mentor Mom


wedding

At my daughter’s urging last night, we brought the box up from the basement.  I hadn’t seen my wedding dress in over 21 years, so it was with an interesting mix of reluctance and anticipation that I tore off the sealing tape.  The dress had been treated and painstakingly packaged to keep out the light and air that would damage the fabric with the passage of time.  I had never opened it, knowing that one day it would be time, that this cherished token of the happiest day of my life, would be put to use again.

 

Breathing a barely perceptible sigh of relief, I saw the fabric was still as snowy white as it had been on that long ago day.  Only the sequins were yellowed with age.  They shimmered, golden in the festive Christmas lights.  When moments later, my daughter entered, wearing the dress, her feet fairly floating across the room, I smiled.  Seeing her there, swirling around, admiring the train, the lace, the beadwork, I was acutely aware that this will be our last Christmas with this exquisite young woman.  Her beau proposed on Thanksgiving day.  Come this time next year, her primary role will be wife, rather than daughter.

 

Expecting to feel an ache in my chest, I waited.  I recalled her final dance recital where it slammed into my awareness that this would be the last time I would have the pleasure of seeing her glide across the stage, graceful movements one with the music.  The realization that I was witnessing a last moment had hit me with almost physical force.  I nearly had to leave the theater, a weeping mess of proud and wounded motherhood.  I fully expected a similar reaction as I gazed upon her radiant face and petite frame, backdropped in the festive decorations we’ve enjoyed since her infancy, draped in my own wedding gown.  I waited, but…

 

Nothing.

 

Surprisingly, I felt nothing but joy.  Anticipation of a new beginning for her, an exciting chapter of life where my role will shift and become something different.  I know the pain will come, in fact is rearing a bit even as I write this, but for that one moment, there was peace.

 

I’ve pondered why this Christmas, this last holiday with her at home feels so okay, why I’m not experiencing a gut wrenching sense of loss, and I’ve decided it’s because I honestly have no regrets.  We’ve been supremely blessed to have enjoyed these past 20 Christmases with her.  And while I have yet to pull off the perfect Christmas season, I have tried to wring every bit of goodness out of each year that I can.

 

Some years I tried too hard to make everything perfect, instead making everything slightly stressed.  I’ve had years where I spoiled the kids overmuch with gifts they’ve long forgotten.  There have been years where I suffered from depression, or was out of commission with physical pain, but overall, I somehow purposed to find the time to just enjoy my family.  To praise my Creator for his unbelievable goodness in pouring out gift upon gift upon gift.  His love for me, his restoration of me to himself, and his pleasure of giving me time with these incredible people I call family.

 

Now I am undone.

 

My friends, it is with uncharactaristic tears streaming down my cheeks that I encourage you.  Purpose to enjoy your people.  Wring every bit of joy from this season of remembrance, this time of celebration of our Father’s great love.  Let his love for you fill you up, and spill out in rivers upon your husband, your children, your friends this year.  Can we ever truly know when this might be the last?

 

Now that I’ve totally lost it, running from my keyboard, sobbing, I can’t help but giggle a bit.  What a contradictory thing a mama’s heart is, yes?  Only mamas know what it is to be fully at peace and completely unravelled, filled with joy and emotionally bleeding to death all at once.  What a wonder it is!

 

I am reminded on this, her last year home, to be deliberate with my time.  With that in mind, I’d like to share my list of must do’s, the things that are non-negotiable.

 

*Snuggle on the couch and watch Christmas movies.  With lots of popcorn, of course!

 

*Lie down beside the Christmas tree in the dark, enjoying the twinkling lights with my peeps and talk about everything and nothing.

 

*Take a walk at night around the neighborhood and admire the festive decorations of our neighbors.

 

*Drive around town, looking at light displays, and enjoying a smoothie.

 

*Snuggles with cocoa.

 

*Play board games or card games.

 

Everything else is secondary.  Parties, baking, wrapping, and shopping are good and well, duties we must find some time for.  But these are the real riches, the moments our kids will carry on into their own families.  These are the gems we will remember and cherish when the house is silent and all is but memory.

 

Treasure the small moments, mamas.  May we remember to make the most of the time we have!

 

 

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” ~Andy Rooney

 

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  (James 1:17, NIV)

 

Rebecca

 Check Out Rebeca’s other posts!

On our true identity:
https://rebecajones.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/going-outlaw/

On parenting:

https://rebecajones.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/to-a-dad-at-walmart/
https://rebecajones.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/3-questions-that-just-might-improve-your-parenting
https://rebecajones.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/mommies-in-arms/

Come on over and visit me at Building Standing Stones.  Hope to see you there!
https://rebecajones.wordpress.com

 

15 thoughts on “A No Regrets Christmas by Rebeca Jones Our Community Mentor Mom

  1. This post blessed me big-time! You had me with your expression of joy in the present moment all the way through the sobbing! I wandered with you through your memories of long ago continuing to the present. You are a wise woman to have been able to embrace being deliberate with your time with your loved ones so well. Thank-you for sharing this joyful inspiration of love and celebration in God’s goodness.

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  2. Pingback: A No Regrets Christmas | Rebeca Jones

  3. Today I have know idea where to put the Christmas tree? My kids are asking me to put it in the middle of the living room. Our kitchen is in our living room. It’s cozy alright. Dust floats in the air as we work on our kitchen. Decorations have not been hung yet and my kids wonder why everyone else seems to have theirs up and we don’t. Somehow today I have to figure this all out. Your post reminds me to keep it simple, loving, fun, entertaining, and relational. I feel inspired by your words to be creative with this messy house and make it fun for my little ones. We don’t have an oven for baking – but we have a home to keep us warm and a car to take us to the store to get candles. Candles that smell like cookies. I love your story Rebecca. Thank you so much for sharing with us. This is a heartfelt post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lisa! Sounds like your focus is right on. Rather than focusing on the chaos, (we’re in the middle of some home improvements too!) we can choose to focus on what matters. Merry Christmas, my friend. May it be full of lovely memories in the making!

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    • Yes, she will be wearing it…with some modernized alterations. We’re blessed to have a friend who is a gifted seamstress who is excited to tear it apart and remake it especially for my daughter’s tastes. What fun this will be! Thanks for reading, Janis!

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  4. Ohhhhh Becky…. I cried and cried while reading this. I remember seeing pictures of you in that dress as I would rummage through boxes of old photographs. You were stunning and I’m sure she looks just as stunning as you did in that dress. I still can’t believe that tiny baby is getting married.

    This post has inspired me to be ever present with my daughter. Too often am I focused on so many unimportant things while she is there telling me all about the world as she see’s things. I’m afraid that if I don’t start paying attention now, she’ll stop telling me her stories.

    Thank you for this.
    Love you always,
    Dianna Lyon (Yost)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is far too easy to get distracted, isn’t it? I’m so glad you’re inspired to make the most of your time. Believe me, Dianna, it goes way too fast. It wasn’t so long ago that my friend’s sweet little girl would snuggle up on my lap and ask for a story…I’ll always remember how your gorgeous little eyes would light up when I agreed to read…makes me wish now I’d said yes more often. Love you, girl. May your Christmas be filled to overflowing with blessing upon blessing! ❤

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  5. First, CONGRATULATIONS! How wonderful about your daughter, and that her engagement is a joy to you. And that you have your wedding dress. (the cleaners lost mine, but none of my 3 sons wanted to wear it for their wedding anyway 🙂 The love you have for your family drenches this post. Such a great gift, and such a reflection of the love our Father has for His children. Merry Christmas! Enjoy the cocoa and the lights and the movies and wedding planning!

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  6. Your list of “musts” is very similar to ours, Rebeca! We’ve been empty nesters now for twelve years, but most of those years everyone has been able to come home for Christmas and we enjoy the same old “musts” we always have–perhaps more so because the togetherness is extra-special now. Also must say, your description of the dichotomy of motherhood is spot-on and, indeed, a wonder! Thank you for a heart-touching post.

    Liked by 2 people

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