Cheers! To the Many Moments to Come…

“This is the greatest Christmas ever!” My 4 1/2 year old has exclaimed this unprompted for the last 2 weeks anytime anything exciting happens, like a special Christmas movie, or making sugar cookies, or riding the Carousel in Bushnell Park, or his Aunt visiting. His joy is contagious and has truly made this the greatest Christmas season ever.

So, when it became apparent on Christmas Eve that his main gift, you know, the one from Santa Claus, wouldn’t be arriving in time, I was devastated and overcome by emotion. I spoke with five representatives from FedEx over the course of the day. With each person, I remained calm. I kept reminding myself that it wasn’t there fault, nor was it appropriate for me to yell at someone on Christmas eve about a present, so I didn’t.

On the drive to Christmas Even Dinner I was told by the 5th and final representative that there had been a random snafu and the gift was incorrectly marked and sent back to Indianapolis. My heart sank. It wasn’t happening, the gift would not be arriving until Thursday. Don would not be getting his gift from Santa on time. I was overcome by emotion.

I took a moment to sit with the emotion of it all. Then, I took a deep breath and decided I wouldn’t let the disappointment control the day, and I moved forward. A year ago, that wouldn’t have been so easy, and two years ago…forget it, but something happened in 2013.

In 2013 I learned that life is short. I learned that stewing in negative emotions is a time suck at best and self-destructive at worst. I learned that there is very little I can control in life besides myself and my reactions to events and people. And I learned that if I can find excitement and happiness in each day, then I am doing something right.

My husband came up with an idea. We decided to have Santa write Don a note telling him that there was another little boy who needed the gift more than him and that Santa knew Don could handle waiting another day for the gift. The biggest bonus, Rudolph would be making a special delivery with Don’s gift!

On Christmas morning, Don woke up thrilled (obviously). Upon seeing the gifts under the tree he immediately started asking which box looked like a ninja turtle van, aka a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shellraiser. With each gift he opened and handed out, he asked which gift looked like a van. I grew more and more anxious each time he asked it until I couldn’t take it anymore. I focused his attention to the back of the tree where the note lay waiting.

As I read him the note he stood silently and I could tell he was thinking about what I was saying. Once I was done, he really wasn’t fazed. He said “okay”, and was on his way, excited to open up the remaining gifts and play with the ones he’d already unwrapped. Hours later he asked me why another little boy needed the gift more than him. I explained that some kids just get the one present that Santa brings and since Santa was one Shellraiser short, he knew Don could handle waiting one more day. Once again, to my great pleasure, Don just shook his head and said “okay”.

don present photoThe next night my husband searched the house with Don looking for the gift. You see, Rudolph doesn’t travel down chimneys and when he saw all of the unwrapped gifts under the tree he got confused. Wouldn’t you know it, he left the gift in Don’s room!

Life’s about moments. The moments we have, not the moments we want. It’s about accepting what your dealt, not wallowing in what you aren’t. And it appears that when you stop asking why some things happen and just accept that they do, it’s not so hard to let go.

Enjoy 2014, each and every day!


5 thoughts on “Cheers! To the Many Moments to Come…

  1. This post touched me so much Jillian. Beautiful. Many important lessons and pieces of advice here. I know how hard it was for you to lose Shannon and I’m so impressed by the way you’ve taken your experience and grief and made it something so positive. Love you.


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