It's been a little over a month and things have been easier and harder in different ways. I really have been held up by my friends and family and getting through the first holiday of the season was way less difficult than I had expected. It is never easy to be apart during culturally designated family times, but it was nice to spend time together with my mom and dad, kids, new sister and family friends.
Now enter Christmas time. I really have been dreading it. Since last year was full of expectation of Caleb coming home right before Christmas, we tried to save things for once he got home and cram a whole holiday season into just 5 days. This year he's really and truly gone for the whole holiday season and so we put up the tree without him, have listened to copious amounts of Christmas music without him, bought and wrapped gifts alone, and I have spent many a night sitting in my bed watching stupid Christmas movies all the while alone (or mostly alone, Amelia sure hasn't figure out how to actually go to bed without getting up about 15 times). It's snowing and I am shoveling the drive (or Cole) and lighting the fire in the fireplace.
I am a little overwhelmed with the financial difficulty of living on such a smaller budget-- all the while knowing that Christmas is partly about giving gifts and not knowing where we are going to come up with the money to cover those gifts. A check from a dear family friend/Uncle comes in the mail and whoosh, Christmas is paid for.
I fell last week and hurt my foot, and after hearing that I have had chronic heel pain, my dad paid for me to get my foot adjusted (fixed) and get orthotics for inside my shoes-- and guess what, not only is the injury better, but my feet DON'T hurt. They have hurt for years and most of the time I've had to sleep with them elevated and my heels not touching anything to have relief-- then I hobble out of bed every morning. All of those issue are going away!!!!
Last weekend, while I'm paying the bills, I realize that I had forgotten to tithe last month-- the tithing thing-- a necessary discipline of Christian living. To give God our first fruits is something we have done our whole marriage and it is just usually something I do right away, but for some reason I pushed it off, and I realized I needed to make up a lot of giving. So, mortgage and tithe were the Dec 1 paycheck. But then, a letter from the Power Company saying a large credit has been placed on our account from another Uncle.
My sister (in law) came to me and said we have an ipad you can have for the kids-- and you know what, it's not even an old one!
Then to top off the month, each and every day I've been getting a surprise on my doorstep as an advent calendar-- and I'm not talking about little stuff-- today I got a beautiful floral arrangement in an awesome tea/coffee pot (and I collect those, so these Christmas elves sure do know their stuff).
Every time I think I just don't know if I can survive another day by myself with the hole of loneliness growing ever larger, God shows up through people in amazing ways. I am fully taken care of and it is so good to see. The community of people who love me and have carried me in all ways-- emotionally, financially, babysitting, making me meals, inviting me over to hang out, pouring me a glass of wine or beer, bringing me coffee... the list can go on and on. I am blessed. I am honored to live among such people.
I knew I wanted to make Christmas special for Caleb and by asking our family, he's going to be getting care packages from all over the country-- what an amazing way to love me by loving him-- I often forget that he's just as lonely as I am and by giving him a little holiday cheer, it'll keep him going!!
For the actual Christmas weekend, we are going to a cabin and there's going to be lots of joy because my brother is going to be home. If I can't have my hubby, I am happy to have my brother.
So, I guess this is the check in-- I'm doing well. I have a gnawing loneliness that won't go away until Caleb is home and next to me, but I'm OK. I'm not self sufficient-- I need those around me to help carry me and how thankful I am that I am being carried.
PS I am really excited to start getting a normal paycheck again... I guess I didn't realize how well we were paid until we have had to live on less. Also, it's been good to learn to live on less-- even if it is slightly stressful at times!