Christmas in Wisconsin

For the second time, we met my sister and her family in Lake Geneva for Christmas, though it was entirely noticeable that we were missing one person. I fought an oppressive sadness the whole week, it seemed. It’s clear now that last year, the first round of holidays without Dad, was padded by shock. It’s amazing what you can muddle through when shock provides a numbing quality.

But, lest I paint this entire post with grief and sadness, I’m going to name some of the things I’m grateful for, the first of which is my family. We don’t see each other often, so anytime we can spend a week together, it’s worthwhile.

I’ve only seen Lake Geneva in wintertime, but the Przyluckis go frequently with Jeff’s side of the family. It’s a special place for them, so I’m glad we can be included in a few memories made there.

Per usual, the cousins soaked up time together, particularly the younger three. It is surreal to see them like this – at nearly 21, 18, nearly 18, and 15. LITERALLY THEY WERE JUST BORN. I swear. A minute ago they were in matching Christmas pajamas lined up for a photo on the stairs.

(Jacob didn’t join us for this walk, that stinker.)

The usual mountain of gifts was a small hill this year, which is what happens when kids grow up and no longer ask Santa for toys. That’s fine, because small surprises and buying things they actually need or want is way more satisfying than adding to cluttered bedrooms.

Becky, Jeff, Chuck, and I got Mom a smart TV, which is something Dad would’ve normally taken care of. We weren’t expecting her reaction! We’ll set it up for her with all the usual streaming services, and finally move her into this decade electronically.

Lake Geneva was decorated beautifully for Christmas, so it’s only a matter of time until a Hallmark movie is filmed here.

Since it’s New Year’s Eve, it’s only right to look back and consider all the ways God has provided for us this year, particularly when it comes to new opportunities, giving us room to grow and test our resolve. In general, it’s been a good year. Chuck’s job expanded, and I have more students now than I’ve ever had between two homeschool co-ops while still working as editor of West Knoxville Lifestyle. Jeremy is sailing through his senior year, while Jackson is working harder than ever in some tough sophomore classes.

Cross Country was definitely a standout event, proving that sibling relationships CAN be repaired and bolstered. We also had a stellar vacation to Costa Rica, which still doesn’t seem like something that actually happened.

I finally joined my friend Amy on her annual trip to Boston, which was just too quick of a trip, in my opinion. Jackson and I ran a 10K together, we enjoyed some time on the water this summer, and in May we all trekked to the family cemetery in West Virginia to bury Dad’s remaining ashes, as he requested.

There were no major negatives that I can recall, which is a sweet relief considering how terrible 2020 was. Either we’ve escaped 2021 without scars, or my memory is so bad that whatever happened didn’t stick.

One thing that’s been incredibly fun is watching the Green Bay Packers do very well this season. Jim, the author of Green Bay: A City and Its Team and owner of the house where we stayed in Costa Rica, and I are in the initial stages of working on a second edition of the book, and we’ve got our fingers crossed that this season will bring the Lombardi Trophy home to Green Bay. I gotta say – it was nice being in Wisconsin when the Packers won a home game on Christmas Day.

Despite the holiday sadness that will probably always be there (Mamaw confirms it), I am still grateful to be alive and healthy and here. My boys are wonderful, my husband is the best, and my friends are unmatched. Major and Salem are my sweetest companions, and I couldn’t create a better town in which to live. Life is worth living, and God has never left me. Even as I dread the countdown to 2022 because my dad won’t be calling me, as he always did, I am still thankful that I have been allowed to live another year. We’re promised nothing, you know. Not a single thing.

Cheers to 2022, everyone. Hug your people. Go after what you want. Don’t be afraid.

error: Please, no copying.