A Pocket of Christmas Sadness

13 Dec

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Psalm 46:4-5

In the midst of the joyful carols, twinkling lights, and buying gifts for my loved ones, I recently found a pocket of sadness that I couldn’t seem to shake.  Somewhere in between “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and the wreath that I hung on our front door, my heart fell hard, and it was several days before it was able to get back up again.  In the early morning darkness that greeted my somber soul, I made a mental list of reasons for my depth of despair.  When they were all added together, somehow they all justified the extreme slump of spirit or at least gave an excuse for the tears that would easily spill over at any moment.

Our beautiful children!

Christmas 2010

As the calendar begins to come to a close each year, the holidays always have a way of sweeping me up into its clutches of planning, decorating, shopping, and anticipating the thrill of having my family gather in.  This is one place where my heart stumbled and fell down, for it is not ‘our turn’ for any of the kids to be with us this year for Christmas.  I truly thought I was more mature and responsible … beyond feeling such an ache for my children.  But I thought wrong.  It’s Christmas, and I miss them!

Friends have always been such a blessing to my heart.  I am certainly grateful to have renewed the connection with some of my precious friends from living in Pennsylvania years ago … but I left behind many others in several parts of the country.  It’s Christmas, and I miss them!

Then there’s my Daddy… He’s been with Jesus now for 18 years.  It’s Christmas, and I miss him!

Writing has always been very therapeutic for my hurting heart, so I gave consideration to pouring my heart out into letters to a few select souls.  But instead, I will reach into the archives of my blog and re-post my Christmas letter that I wrote last year to my Daddy.  Aside from some statistical family details, each word still describes my heart and the precious bitter-sweet memories of Christmases past.

Dear Daddy,

It would only be most appropriate to sit here and sip on a hot cup of coffee (with cream and sugar, as opposed to your favorite, black) as I jingle Heaven’s portals with a Christmas greeting to you. The sights and sounds of the holidays have a way of tugging at the memories of my heart, and I always miss you so much during this season.

You know that I so enjoy all of the music this time of year, but there is a distinct genre of songs that melt this little girl’s heart into a puddle of warm memories. Just a few notes of one of these songs, and I am immediately transported back to any cold December day in my childhood. Remember how you and I would go shopping together every Christmas and buy gifts for Mom? Every store we went into and every station on the radio would be playing “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” or “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”. I loved being with you, Daddy … your funny little quirks of always stopping at the men’s cologne counter to splash a half-dozen different scents of after shave lotion on your face, often taking my own little face in your hands and lovingly pat the potpourri of manly fragrances on my little girl cheeks. A few more songs like the musical rendition of “Sleigh Ride” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” would serenade us as we began our quest for the right gift that year for mom. You loved to have a lot of gifts under the tree for her ~ I always felt like it was your way of showing her how much you loved and appreciated her. Soft and flowing night gowns with matching robes, a new winter coat with accompanying boots, and of course, peanut brittle. Oh, the big gifts were different every year, but we also always got her a box of peanut brittle. I picked up that yummy tradition in your honor until a few years ago when she began to make her own homemade brittle … thinking of you the entire time she’s doing so, I’m sure. Speaking of peanuts, on our way out of Sears and Roebuck, you would usually swing by the snack area and buy you and me a small bag of warm salted cashews. How fun to remember how special that made me feel that you would stop and buy this special treat for me … you and me. I don’t even know if we saved any for mom and the boys.

I had to chuckle the other day as I was walking through the grocery store and passed by the infamous bag of mixed nuts! Do you remember the glass dish that mom got out at Christmas and filled with all sorts of hard candy, oranges, and nuts? I think of you every time I look for something in the utility drawer in my own kitchen and I see the nut cracker and pick. I have so many simple, but oh so special holiday memories of you, Daddy.

Your birthday is coming soon, which always means that Christmas is only a few hours away. You were always so gracious, having a Christmas Eve birthday, to excitedly accept your annual birthday gift of new Christmas pajamas right along with us kids! Still to this day, you are always remembered and sung to in the unique Wells tradition … as the birthday cake is shared by many December birthdays each year. “… Happy Birthday, dear Daddy / Grandpa Johnny!”

There is an unmistakable warmth, safe and secure, and happy feeling ~ embraced with all the love a little girl’s heart can hold ~ when I think of you, Daddy … especially at Christmas time. The aromas, the sounds of the holidays, the fun varieties of cookies, snacks, fruit, and the Christmas dinner itself, … and just the presence of our family together. Thank you, Daddy, for sufficiently providing for us, with not only the things we needed, but with lots of love, attention, and security. I know your grandkids still remember you for your extreme heart of fun and love that always made each one of them feel so special. You have great grandkids now, Daddy! Tim is a grandpa to Kailee’s kids, and Jay is just weeks away from holding his first grandson! And I will once again be Mimi as Kim is expecting her second little one in May … her own little girl! Oh Daddy … I miss you so!

You know how busy it gets this time of year, but we all plan to be together once again at your house. You may not physically be there, but you will be there. Your example, your jovial and sometimes feisty spirit, and your love will always be with us! Instead of the 5 of us, plus Mammy and Pappy ~ like it was every year for many years, there will be 25 of us and 3 babies on the way. What a blessed heritage you gave to each of us … yes, you will be there. Make that 26.

The older I get, the more I miss you. There must be something about better understanding the struggles and the hard times of life ~ and wishing that I had paid more attention and spent more time on my knees then than I did. But here we are. The journey for me continues, and I know that my tears will continue to flow from time to time … until they will be dried by Jesus Himself as I am met by you at that great Gate … Someday.

Well, I will hush for now, Daddy. I promise to meet you here again, from time to time, on the pages of my heart. Happy 78th Birthday, Merry Christmas, and I love you!

Until next time,
Your Bobby Naw

Mom with your 3 newest great grandbabies

Mom with your 3 newest great grandbabies

P.S.  It’s 2012 now … Those 3 new babies have come, Daddy … oh what fun they are!  Kailee’s Leyton, Jason’s Jaxon,  and Kim’s Lillianne.  Those little cousins got to meet one another in October when Kim, Baby Lillie and I flew out to Mom’s for my birthday visit.  And speaking of birthdays, this Christmas Eve will be your 79th!  There will be fewer people gathered around the Christmas table in Indiana this year, but you will be there in the hearts of us all.

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas Daddy … I love you and miss you so!

2 Responses to “A Pocket of Christmas Sadness”

  1. Kim December 13, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    oh goodess….made me cry. i miss grandpa too. he would have LOVED troy. they are the same sort of funny man. sorry we won’t be able to share Christmas day together, but know that you will be in our hearts and minds anyways! I love you mom!

  2. Joan Arndt December 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Thank You for sharing this writing . I also have a pocket of sadnees at this time of the year .The reasons are about family . The years go bye and the same hard facts are that I have lost my family and it hurts so deep sometimes I cannot understand.
    I call to the only one who seems to calm my anixous moments and he comes close but It still hurts. I miss so many times I would love to share.
    It made me think about them especially today . You have daddy waiting for you and that is joyful news I am afraid I don’t have my family who cares enough to want us in their lives. I cry and pray and cry again At times I find the peace I need and others times I rely on God to take the pain away. All in al My hope is in the Lord Jesus.
    Love you and have yourselve a very Merry Christmas Day
    Joan & George

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