Traditions

This Christmas has been an emotion roller coaster for me as I reminisce Christmas memories and focus on creating new Christmas traditions with Jeff.  Doubtful I’ll get through writing this without becoming a sappy mess.

Growing up my Mom made sure my sister and I had perfect Christmas memories.  We grew up making more cookies than our neighborhood could eat, stringing popcorn and cranberry garland, visiting Santa at my grandpa’s Masonic Lodge, driving to downtown Columbus to see the lights, decorating the tree and waking up to a living room full of presents on Christmas morning.  I’m sure it was very similar to our friend’s Christmas, but it was magic to me.  This picture cracks me up… not sure why I was shooting my sister a stern look.

When Jeff and I were raising our little family, I was either really into Christmas or the biggest ba-humbug in history.  I never felt that I could live up to my expectations and was exhausted before I even attempted to gear up for Christmas.  Somehow, we managed to create a few traditions that stuck over the years.  We made cookies (always buckeyes), hunted and cut down the perfect tree, decorated the tree, topped the tree with a lift from Dad, and a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve.  Most years the kids opened all their presents before Christmas because Jeff and I simply could not wait.   Cutting the tree became an all day event, as I insisted on hunting the tree farm until I found the perfect tree, regardless of the weather.  As the kids got older, the traditions were for my benefit.  Yep, the kids were having a blast!

The year before we all flew the coop…. oh boy, did the years fly by.

Over time, I experienced my favorite traditions in other ways.  Like the year my sister and I baked cookies with my Grandma.

My Mom now makes Christmas cookies with Emily, my daughter and her friends.

Emily and Jacob (daughter and son-inlaw) have started their own traditions, including cutting down a tree from our favorite tree farm.  Emily posted to Facebook, “We got a Christmas tree. I was channeling my mom and made us walk all the way to the back of the tree lot, in the cold to find the “perfect” tree. Good memories.”  LOVE that girl!

I LOVE the smile on her face!

Last year Jeff got to place the star on the top of our tree for the first time.

This year I went shopping alone for our trees (yes I said trees, meaning two for our house and five for The Coop) and bought them from a big box hardware store.  GASP!  After all these years I discovered that I can get seven trees for the price of one.  However, it will never have the same magic.

This year Jeff and I started a few new traditions.  He joined me in making buckeyes.

We went to see The Nutcracker at The Festival Institute in Round Top.  Jeff and his mother, Ginger, had never seen The Nutcracker.  None of us had experienced The Festival Institute.  Wow!

This was my first year to decorate The Coop.  I honestly enjoyed transforming The Coop, making ornaments and hosting Christmas At The Coop.  I look forward to Rocking Around The Coop next year.  Great memories to build new traditions upon!

I miss the traditions of my childhood and the ones Jeff and I created with our kids.  It is heartwarming to watch my adult children maintain some old traditions, while creating their own.  Jeff and I have whittled down the traditions in our empty nest and have enjoyed a slower paced holiday.  I’m insisting we wait until Christmas morning to open our gifts, a first for us.

The traditions are fun, but it’s the people I created them with that is priceless.  I’m so grateful for a rich life filled with family and friends!

May your holiday season be full of joy!  In the midst of a hectic season, I pray that you savor time with loved ones and make memories to last you all year long!

~Tiffany

And the birds fluttered around her writing, “YES” in the sky!

 

Time will tell

This week’s Folk Magazine’s Journal Agenda Challenge is, “Take a Moment To Reflect on the Meaning of Time.”  Well this is timely…

We’ll cross that bridge when we have to.

Picture taken by Kristie Herlong

This past month my husband Jeff and I had to face one of our worst fears. Jeff was diagnosed with plasmacytoma, a cancer in his pelvic bone. We were shocked. A friend who had just survived breast cancer gave us the best advice, “Don’t cross the bridge until you have to.” I remembered that advice each time I was tempted to question the future.

We’ve made it through the test of time

In August Jeff and I will celebrate our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. We have seen each other through every kind of trial imaginable. We got married young and practically grew up together. For better or worse and richer or poorer, we have managed to build a great life. Lord knows that our marriage has survived huge failures, but together we raised two wonderful children, Emily and Hayden, who represent our biggest achievements.

How do you tell your wife? Wait.

Jeff gets an award of valor! For a whole weekend he kept the news to himself while I was busy setting up Flown The Coop at Urban Market in Houston. He didn’t want to ruin the show for me and our friends at the show. He waited until he was forced to cross a bridge. Sunday evening on the way home, while I was talking about plans for a buying trip in March and an upcoming market, Jeff stopped me in mid sentence to finally let me in on his news. All future planning stopped.

Day by day

X-rays taken to determine if a bulging disc was the reason for pain Jeff had been experiencing in his feet revealed a mass on his pelvic bone. Initially the doctors thought it was something much worse called Chrondrosarcoma and were predicting a surgery to remove part of his pelvic bone and that he possibly could never walk again. Jeff underwent numerous tests and blood work, including a biopsy to determine the route of treatment. We had no idea what the next day would bring.

While we waited for the results we took a “naïveté tour.” We spent a whole weekend just trying to live in the moment, riding the Harley and going to the beach. Honestly, we experienced every possible emotion and had some serious conversations during that time. It’s hard not to. The difference is that we remained naive about the future and refused to cross a bridge until we had to.

We are thankful for today

Jeff is doing great. As far as we know, the cancer has not spread from the pelvic bone. His radiation treatments started and seem to be minor compared to chemo therapy. Jeff and I will have more bridges to cross in the future, but we’re thankful.  It could have been so much worse. After radiation treatments he still need to get the bulging disc in his back corrected so that the pain in his feet can be addressed.

Jeff and I are also thankful for our family and friends who have supported us with prayers and encouragement. It is no surprise to me how many people love Jeff.

Time will tell

I wish Jeff didn’t have to face this journey and all the crap that surrounds cancer. It is scary to think about what we might have to face. I can’t control the bridges that we’ll be forced to cross, but I don’t have to waist time crossing them until it’s time.

Jeff and I don’t know what the diagnosis is for our future. Only time will tell. I commit to only focusing on the joys and challenges of today. Who knows, maybe the future will be better than we can imagine now.

Only God knows what our future will bring. Time will tell.

I’ll cross that bridge when I have to!

~Tiffany

The birds fluttered around her writing “YES” in the sky!