It would have been out of character for me to have not gotten up "before the sun" as my mom always says... be it Christmas or any other day, this seems to be my pattern. In fact, at one point my mom had to implement a rule that we weren't allowed to get up before the sun on Christmas morning; of course as a child (and, admittedly, as a teenager) my anticipation kept me awake anyhow. This morning seems to be no different, though I don't believe it's my anticipation that awoke me this morning. Because truthfully, this Christmas has been hard... really hard.
I may have mentioned that we haven't really done anything "Christmas-y" this year. Sure, we've participated in some of our same traditions with family, but this morning, the traditions that we wanted to start as a family... with Isaac... aren't happening the way we had envisioned. Instead of playing Christmas music and opening a few gifts (whatever that would look like with a 2 1/2 month old), we'll be starting the tradition of spending some time on Christmas morning at the cemetery... a place where no one dreams of being with their child on Christmas. The only real "Christmas-y" thing we did this year was send Christmas cards... mostly because I know it's the only year that Isaac's sweet face will make it's way onto our annual Christmas photo card. I also enclosed a letter this year, which I wanted to pass along to my faithful blog readers as well...
Dear Family and Friends,
This has been a year of unspeakable grief for us; yet even in the thick of it, we know that we are incredibly blessed.
It was on February 26 of this year that we found out we were expecting Isaac. On April 21st, we learned that there were some major concerns, and on June 17th, we found out just how grim Isaac’s outlook was. With great resolve, we decided to do everything possible to enjoy my pregnancy and the time we had with him, and by God’s grace, we were able to. Not without tears and tremendous heartache, but God graciously allowed us to enjoy the time with Isaac that we did have… for nine months in the womb, and, on October 7th, for the sweetest sixteen minutes after. Isaac was buried on October 11th, and we honored his life with a memorial service on October 18th. We miss Isaac daily, and his absence is profoundly real to us, particularly during the holiday season. But in the midst of it, God is teaching us how to navigate this “new normal” way of life. It’s a slow and difficult process, but we are learning.
We know that many of you are familiar with Isaac’s story. So rather than reiterating the same details, this is our hope: that this Christmas, you’ll hug your loved ones a little more tightly, linger with family a little bit longer, and most importantly, see Jesus a little more clearly.
In other family news, Spencer is still plugging away with his graduate work in school administration through Hood College’s partnership program with Montgomery County Public Schools. His coursework will be completed this summer, and he will then begin his internship next fall. Stacy has returned to work and is slowly getting back into the swing of things. We recently learned that she achieved her National Board Certification for teaching, a rigorous process which she completed last school year.
In closing, we just wanted to reiterate our sincerest gratitude for all the ways in which so many people have come along side of us and supported us over this past year. We are truly grateful.
Spencer & Stacy,
with Isaac forever in our hearts
I would pass along the photo we enclosed as well, but you already have seen it if you've been here before... the photo at the top of the page in the header (on the left).
Blessings and peace to each of you today and in the new year. God's grace is sufficient for each step...