Here's To A Happy New Year

I know what you're thinking Blogstalkers.  Posting on a Sunday?  What?  Not Lauren, she barely posts during the week recently.  Someone must have hijacked her computer.

But seriously yes I am posting on a Sunday.  Because I've been feeling out of sorts lately and I thought maybe writing about it would help.

I've also gotten some questions on Facebook about why we are "playing Santa" for Ryan's siblings and why his sister is living with us.  So hopefully this will explain everything.

I think it has not gone unnoticed by any of you that when it comes to Christmas, I can tend to go overboard.  I am a Christmas freak.  From November 1st until midnight on December 25th my heart beats are all "Fa La La La La La La La La."  I love the spirit of the season, the camaraderie it inspires in strangers, the fact that may people are more willing to help out where needed, to donate a couple of coats or canned goods or throw a couple of dollars at the ever-ringing Salvation Arm bells when leaving the grocery store.  I love the snow and the smiles and the smells.  I LOVE Christmas season.  Usually.

This year I'm having trouble finding my holiday cheer.  And that is making me sad.  And then I get even sadder that I am sad around Christmas.  My depression is firmly under control so I know that this melancholy is something I am legitimately feeling and not just something my brain is tricking me into feeling.

This Christmas is going to be hard.  If you've not been reading this blog for a while then you probably do not know that 2012 was an intensely difficult year for Ryan's and my family.  Ryan and his three younger siblings lost their father in February due to a middle-of-the-night cerebral hemorrhage.  He was 54 and it was entirely unexpected.  Just five weeks later Ryan's mother lost her battle with cancer.  She was also 54 and had been diagnosed only a little over a year earlier.

Obviously Ryan and his family were beyond devastated.  His parents were wonderful, loving people.  This was not the life they deserved.  And so now Ryan and his little brothers and his little sister are not living they life they deserved.  And that breaks my heart.  It shatters my heart into a million pieces.  And if I am that broken for them, I can not even imagine their pain.  

So as can only be expected the holiday season is difficult this year.  Ryan's mother was Jewish (hence why Ryan identifies as Jewish) but his father was Catholic and wholeheartedly loved this season of giving.  It feels wrong not to have them here with us right now.

We are doing the absolute best we can, making most things very different so that the things that are missing are not so glaringly obvious.  We are having Christmas here instead of in their childhood home.  Katie (Ryan's sister) and I have taken over the delicate art of filling Boy Stockings and Ryan and I have donned our Claus suits (literally haha) and are working on creating a Christmas morning, that we can only hope will have some sweet mixed in with the bitter.

I'm so sorry to bring everyone down just two days before Christmas but I've been having a lot of trouble being upbeat in posting lately and so the blog has been quiet.  And I wanted to explain in the best way I know how.  We are all doing well and are looking forward to celebrating Christmas together.  I hope you all have just the LOVELIEST of holidays and I will be back to my normal cockamamie self in no time.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays Blogstalkers!  Thanks for always being around.  You are my little miracle-workers.  I hope you know that.

Ryan and I can only hope we'll have as happy of a marriage.

P.S. To be clear, it's not ALL misery around here.  Ryan lightened the mood considerably by sitting his sister and I down and telling us a grand story of how he thought he had bought the GREATEST GIFT OF ALL TIME for the entire family.  Katie and I were intrigued and sent each other psychic brain messages like "Do you think it's a trip?" and "Yes! Fingers crossed for Greece!"  And then Katie went upstairs and I was like "Ok Ryan, you need to tell me what this gift is since it sounds expensive," and he was like "It's...wait for it....two remote control helicopters.  And I was like "Katie! Come down here and hear what Ryan's GREATEST GIFT OF ALL TIME is."  And so she did and was equally disgusted.  And now whenever something is good, like the burgers we ate yesterday, either Katie or I will be like "Well, yeah, it's good, but it no remote control helicopter."

46 comments:

  1. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas! I doubt I am over-speaking by saying that all of our hearts go out to you, Ryan, and his siblings. I am positive that this year full of tragedy and heartbreak will end on a happy note because of Ryan's and your effort to give everyone a happy Christmas.

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    1. Thanks Meg! Ryan's youngest sibling, his sister Katie, has been a tremendous help herself. We are figuring out how to celebrate appropriately together.

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  2. Many prayers headed your way for peace and joy. What you and Ryan are doing is amazing! Merry Christmas! And know that you are a very inspiring individual!

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    1. Thanks so much! Ryan and his siblings have been a source of inspiration for me this year. It's incredible to watch them go through something so devastating and remain such strong and lovely individuals. I want to be them when I grow up.

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  3. Oh Lauren :( And Ryan...

    My heart is breaking for you and I cannot even imagine how hard that must be for your family. I hope that Santa brings you all some holiday cheer and that you are all able to find some comfort being in the company of each other. I will be thinking of you on Christmas morning and praying for a Happy New Year for each of you.

    xo
    Natalie

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    1. Thanks Natalie! I really did not want to bring everyone down this near to Christmas but I'm nothing if not forthright and wanted to explain our situation since I've been getting some queries here and there. I hope you and your family have a crazy wonderful amazing Christmas!

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  4. I'm sending you and Ryan(and your families) the biggest possible hugs! I've been struggling this holiday as well so you are not alone! Hang in there miss!

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    1. Sending you giant hugs in return Sarah! As I said, I think we are all doing well. Ryan and his siblings are truly an inspiration.

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  5. What you're going through is normal, honey. It's grieving. I will pray that all of you do as best you can with the holiday, and that you find both comfort and joy. Thinking of you, wishing you all a Merry Christmas! Love you, Jo

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    1. Thanks Jo! We are still hoping to have a sweet little holiday just the five of us together. And then come noon on Christmas Day we have plans to be all, Christmas is now over and we shall order Chinese food and go see a movie. And next year will be easier.

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  6. Christmas is always a hard time when you've lost someone, I am glad you all have each other to lean on, with hopefully a few smiles and laughs through the tears. I know firsts can be especially hard :( Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks for your words! I know Ryan's family is not the only one to ever experience something like this, but it's difficult to maneuver. I think they'll (we'll) all get through this together.

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  7. Anonymous12/23/2012

    You and Ryan are an amazing,strong couple and as sad as it is and as wrong as it is, the two of you are going to create your own traditions and you will have a lovely fun day mixed in with bursts of regret, longing and sadness. My brother died 6 years ago and my mum 4 years ago, I miss them every day but Christmas is especially hard. I feel your sadness. I know Ryan's siblings are going to love and appreciate every thing you do for them in the coming days. As hard as it is, don't forget to have a moment where you can sit, reflect and remember. Be nice to yourself, you are our miracle worker, you make us laugh every day. Nic xx

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    1. Thanks Nic! We are fully anticipating a date filled with badly-controlled helicopters and accidental Tootsie Roll Overdoses and lots of hugs and card games that are made-up after two drinks and mean absolutely no sense the next day. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother and mom. Losing someone is never easy.

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  8. Lauren, I echo the statements above, and you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I have never been one for this holiday, but reading your post has me thinking, that maybe, just maybe, I should try to enjoy this holiday and truly be thankful for what I have and who is in my life....so thank you for helping me to open my mind, eyes and heart to something I have frowned upon for over two decades....Merry Christmas...(btw, I got my card yesterday and I LOVE it!!!! Thank you so much!!!)

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    1. Glad you got your card Meg! I'm afraid some people's will not come until after Christmas since sending out over 1000 cards turned out to be a bigger job than I anticipated. My hand will never be the same! I still LOVE LOVE Christmas and I think I always will, this year is just tough, because I can see how tough it is for Ryan and his family. I'm so glad you can see a little of what I love about it.

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  9. Sending all of you love, hugs, and many Christmas wishes. I've been having a time getting into it this year too. If it wasn't for my daughter (Harmony) I don't think it would even register with me right now. We're thinking of you down here (in Florida)

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    1. Thanks Jay_Lee for your hugs and wishes. They will go to good use. Merry Christmas to you and Harmony! (What a beautiful name!)

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  10. How old are Ryans little brothers and sisters? I am so sorry for the both of you. It's a rough time of year for me as well even with all the good stuff going on. I hope you enjoy your holiday and I'm sure everything will get better. We all love you!

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Ryan's brothers are 24 and 22 and his sister is just turned 20. She's normally at school at Northwestern. But lives with us during the breaks.

      Thanks so much for the kind words!

      Merry Christmas in return!

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  11. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Were having our own "lets put some sweet in the bitter" ourselves.
    Cheers to a better 2013!

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    1. Cheers to a better 2013! And A Very Merry Christmas To You!

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  12. Christy Smith12/23/2012

    God Bless!! It has to be so incredibly hard for you! Having your family all together will be good for your hearts! Thinking of you and wishing you the merriest of Christmases!

    (Is that a word? Is that the way you spell it???? ugh....)

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    1. Totally a word and totally how you spell it. Thanks so much for your kind words! We are all doing well together, it's just a different holiday than we're used to. But that's ok.

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  13. I lost my dad to cancer 8 years ago and I can't imagine losing my mom so soon after. I think you just have to let yourself grieve - the "firsts" are always tough. Even though they are not there physically to celebrate with you, I believe they are there with you in spirit and will get so much joy out of watching their kids celebrate together. Sending lots of happiness and prayers your way. Merry Christmas and thank you for the entertainment and laughter your blog brings!

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad Laura. Cancer is a horrible evil beast. We are still looking forward to Christmas, we just know it will be different. But there will still be some lovely mixed in. Merry Christmas!

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  14. Angie M12/23/2012

    Christmas is always a time to remember lost loved ones, and it is extremely hard the first few years. They will be with you in spirit this year and every other. You are handling it together as a family, and together you will get through it.

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  15. There's a heaviness in many hearts this year, for many reasons. At our house, it's our first year with my son away (he's in the AF and stationed in Montana) among other problems that make Christmas seem unimportant. I have friends whose husbands are deployed overseas and I don't feel like I can help them. My elderly cat is very ill and will soon be leaving us. But you inspire me. There are things we can do to make the season, if not bright, at least less dim. I put up a ridiculous amount of lights all around the house yesterday. My daughters are in Heaven, they don't have to turn on a switch, I have so many lights. I plastered the tree with our ornaments from places we've visited and every one of their school days ornaments, some charming, most ridiculous and all recalling the glories of Christmas before everything got sad. I'm throwing a hen party for my friends who are missing their spouses. This will be a transitional year for you, but you have already begun building on new traditions that should help ease your siblings hearts. Remote control helicopters, inDEED! I am charmed! At our house the GREATEST GIFT EVER would be a 90-inch tv because the 60-inch is "so tiny." It is now a part of our family culture that few will ever understand but I think you'll get it. Anyway, I want you to know that you are dear to me, though we've never met, and when you post your "realness" you make me even more happy that you are in the world, out there somewhere, fighting the good fight. If you were merry all the time, I couldn't handle that. I don't do spunky. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and we'll see you on the other side of what promises to be a Happy New Year.

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  16. I really hope this Christmas and the end of the year is joyful for all of you. I am sending warm sunny thoughts from Southern California to you and your family!

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  17. Totally understand what you are going through. Unexpected loss is bad enough but that whole first year of things without them is slightly traumatic. We had to go out of our way to celebrate the year dad passed away and I still think in comparison to other people we were kinda moody. He died a few weeks shy of his 55th birthday and five days before my brother turned 22. Just rough all around and since we were incredibly lazy after putting up the Christmas tree it normally was up in a corner well beyond the holidays as a running family joke. Miss that, mom is maniacal about taking the tree down. As for the greatest gift ever, I think that only charts because he has a Y chromosome. Boy brains work differently than you know rational human brains.

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  18. Barbara Barth12/23/2012

    Sending you wishes for a Christmas filled with warmth (even if that isn't Greece type warmth) and a healing new year for you and your family. You could have some Rock'em Sock'em fun with those helicopters... it would make a hysterical video.

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  19. You are amazing, Lauren. I don't know how I stumbled upon your blog, but I'm so thankful I did. You've made me laugh when I have needed it. I don't know how many times I've cracked up reading, "RYAN!!"

    I'm so sorry for what a hard time it must be for you all. I know 2013 will be better. I'm a firm believer that if you put goodness out into the universe, it comes back to you. :) Sending you a little happiness from PA. :)

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  20. I think it is so wonderful that you are so thoughtful and trying so hard to make the best of this season. I know this must be just so very difficult for you, and Ryan, and the whole family. I cannot even imagine. I wish you many, many happy and joyous moments this Christmas, because I find that even in the saddest of times, joy finds its way in and it's the little moments that help to brighten the dark ones. Have a happy and healthy New Year as well :) I know that even though it is a sad time, you will find a way to make it happy.

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  21. I know exactly how this feels. When I was 9 my grandmother whom we lived with and I was very close to passed away on Christmas Eve. It took a few years to have the holidays feel anything but bittersweet

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  22. Anonymous12/23/2012

    Oh Lauren, only your posts can make me cry while having a smile on my face! Amazing that you are able to do this for Ryan's siblings and carry on through the holidays with a heavier heart but an incredible spirit. Love and positive thoughts for both your families!

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  23. You embody all that is good in the holidays. Everyday. I'm so glad I found you and others have found you and that you found us. Hugs!

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  24. Megan M.12/23/2012

    I can't imagine what it must be like to lose both of your parents in such a short time. At least Ryan and his siblings have each other, and you, Lauren. You've definitely put a smile on my face this season. I can't wait to get my Christmas card! I wish I could send you one, too, but we're pretty slack in that department.

    While nothing will make this Christmas "easier" without their parents, you will be a shining light for them as you have been for so many of us. I truly hope you all have a happy New Year, and a merry Christmas!

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  25. Having lost my mom less than two months ago, I have a little bit of an idea how you are feeling. You want to make the holidays "normal" for everyone, but you can't find the spirit of it yourself. Nothing is quite the same. I can only hope the first one is harder than the rest because I don't want to feel this way every Christmas.

    Please know that you and Ryan and his siblings are in my prayers. I can't imagine losing both of your parents like that. One is horrible. Both? I'm not sure I could come back from that. The fact that you are doing so much to make it wonderful for everyone speaks volumes about your character. I'm proud to know you, even if it's only as a blogstalker.

    Merry Christmas, Lauren, Ryan and Family.

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  26. Anonymous12/23/2012

    I believe you and Ryan are living out the spirit of Christmas for your families, in spite of the whole remote control debate. I hope that thought helps lighten your burden just a little. Happy Christmas!

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  27. I'm so sorry for the loss of both Ryan's parents. I lost my father to cancer this October 30th. He was only diagnosed at the end of july. It wouldn't matter though, about the time, no matter how long we had it wouldn't have been enough. What I am trying to say, is, I feel your pain. I'm so sorry for the loss.

    I am heartened to know that Ryan's siblings have two such sweet hearted people in their lives to help pick up the holiday slack. That is a true blessing.

    I'll be thinking of you all and sending you good thoughts.
    Candace

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  28. I am so sorry for your loss. My best wishes to you. It is so hard to find the joy when that sort of pain is eating away.

    It will be great to think to myself "that is no remote control helicopter" when I open every gift this year.

    Merry Christmas.

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  29. Anonymous12/24/2012

    Oh, Lauren. My heart goes out to all of you guys.

    Also: This holiday season has been feeling a little grey and hopeless for me, and I want you to know that when I read your blog post this morning, it made me happier and more hopeful than I had felt in days---If there must be murders, and untimely deaths, and sadness and badness in this world, the only real hope for it is that there will also be people like you, who love abundantly, dance ridiculously, and bring Christmas to the ones they love (and total strangers) just because. You help me remember to be one of those joy-givers.

    Hugs, lady. To all of you.

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  30. I hope you and Ryan were able to have a wonderful holiday season, along with Ryan's siblings. I really admire your strength and your ability to be so honest and open. You're a great person :]

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  31. Lisa in Seattle12/25/2012

    It breaks my heart a little bit to see how bravely Ryan and his siblings are taking on the mantle of responsibility for making a merry Christmas so many years too early. Bless all of you today. I have to say that Ryan's gift is pretty epic, though. The potential for mayhem is very high. You might want to wear safer goggles while operating them, I am just saying. Hugs from across the miles.

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  32. Paige Hudson Garcia12/26/2012

    I hate to hear that others are struggling ANYTIME, but especially during the holidays.
    I have also been out-of-sorts this season and am trying VERY hard to snap out of it, without much luck...UNTIL your card came! It was totally awesome (just as promised), and brought a smile that I had almost forgotten how to use. THANK YOU!
    Please hug Ryan & yourself from me - (and tell Ryan to do whatever he wants to do to OJ from me, I'll just live vicariously) hehe. Hoping joy finds its way back to you & yours soon! <3

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  33. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Ryan's beloved parents. Everyone should be so lucky to have parents like that and a love like they had. That is so terribly unfair to lose them so young. ((Hugs)) to all.

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