The holiday season is my favorite time of year. I’m grateful for every single day that I’m given another chance to make a difference, but the days that are filled with the smells of a roasting turkey, homemade rolls, cakes, pies, and all things sleep-inducing are my absolute favorites. The truth is, though, for several years now, it hasn’t felt like the holiday season of old.
The last time there was a true feeling of festivity in my spirit was in 2009. I had had the aneurysm earlier that year so my family came to my home in Allen that Christmas. My sister, nephew, and mom came from Louisiana, as did my cousin and her two kids from Houston. I had not told my mom that I’d had a brain hemorrhage because her own health was so poor, but somehow, she knew. She didn’t know the extent to which I was sick, but she kept telling me that I didn’t look well. I did look sick and truthfully, I felt horrible, but my physical state did not hinder the joy I felt having my family around. That was the last year that I felt that kind of joy.
If the lack of true love had been evident in the Hinton household before 2010, it was tenfold by the time the holidays arrived that year. Some days, the only communication in the house was the combat-like fighting between the ex and I, him and my son, or all three of us. It never mattered how small an issue was in the beginning — by the end of the fights, things would be blown so far out of proportion and the fights would be so intense, sometimes we’d just fall asleep. I put the Christmas tree up that year, but there was no joy in the house.
The 2011 holiday season was even worse. I put a tree up, but that was about the size of it.
The 2012 holiday season was the absolute worse. The divorce proceedings had just begun and even though Will and I traveled to Louisiana to be with my family for both holidays, the pain of not being in our own home, which is something we’d done since he was born, was excruciating. We were heartbroken. All of us were heartbroken. Yes, even my ex-husband. He was probably more heartbroken than Will and I.
Things began to get better in 2013 even thought I was fresh off the divorce, but because I was surrounded by my family and friends, things were okay. I still didn’t feel the usual happiness I felt in previous years, but I was okay.
I spent part of the 2014 holiday season in New Orleans with my soulmate and had an amazing time.We walked the city and just enjoyed each other’s company.
Last Christmas was extremely hard because we lost Mama on October 24th and her birthday was December 16th. We tried so hard to carry on as usual, but the void was too deep and too wide. We laughed, we clowned, we played, poked fun at each other, and ate way too much, but her chair sat empty.
This Christmas, once again, was unseasonably warm. It was just over 70˚. We didn’t exchange gifts this year for several reasons. It just didn’t feel like Christmas.
Please, please, PLEASE don’t get me wrong — if anyone knows the true meaning of Christmas, it’s me and my family. We know that the day is all about the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We know that the exchange of gifts, the excessive, fattening food are all just icing on the birthday cake for our Savior’s birth, but the fact remains that we were just down in our spirits.
In a few short days, the year will be 2017. We get to start a new chapter. We get to close the book on 2016. I will have closed the book on a friendship that I should have closed many, many years ago. That friendship was with a toxic, negative, vindictive person so there is no loss. I’m better off without her.
I’ve had to think long and hard about this one, but I’ve realized that if I’m going to progress in the areas I want to move forward in — sales, writing, and speaking, I’m going to have to get back to the city. Most importantly, I want — no, I need to be physically closer to my granddaughter. I miss the city. I really do. I’ve gone back and forth about this move because I didn’t want to leave my family, but I will be okay with driving those four hours to see them.
In 2017, I will reach more people. I will be a greater force. I will help more people. I believe the love of my life will find me. I belIeve I will be a deeper vessel for God.