The last few days have been exceedingly difficult.
Landon has been pushing the limits … and ALL of my buttons.
He knows just how to get at me.
Talk back.
Questioning every command.
Refusing to obey.
Most days, I am able to respond in love and not get angry.
But some days, I snap.
This week I snapped.
Not just one day, but all week.
Christmas week.
It was the most challenging Christmas week I can remember.
And I failed.

Then I think every insecurity I have ever battled rose to the surface.
It was Christmas Eve.
Steve got home from work about 3pm.
I was in sweatpants and was decked out in rollers.
The kids dressed in their best church clothes for the Christmas Eve service.
They all trotted off to Kings get Sterno for our fondue.

I went upstairs to dress myself up.
After trying on 4 different outfits, because the first few are never quite right …
I chose a dress from a long gone era.
Long.  Burgundy.  Sequins.
If I hold any bragging rights, I thought I looked beautiful.
Amazing.  Stunning.
But in Steve’s usual way, I went unnoticed.
I swear, sometimes he doesn’t even see me.
Not so much as a, “Wow, you’re wearing a dress.”
I didn’t do well hiding my disappointment.
It was all I could do to not allow my hurt to ruin the candle light service.
At last, after we were home, and I was back in my fleece pants and sweatshirt,
came the words, “You looked nice tonight.”
And, “The fondue was excellent.  Thank you.”

After opening a few presents, and stuffing the stockings … off to bed we went.
I knew that the boys would be in our room at 6am and I would need to be ready.
I awoke a little after 7:30am.
The room was quiet.  Steve was gone.
I could hear the kids chattering and squealing.
What?  No one climbed in bed with me?
No one woke me up?
I flew out of bed, dressed, and brushed my teeth.
All the while, I was trying to figure out what was going on.
Why was I left all alone?

Al last, I started down the stairs … only to find …
all of the kids sitting on the floor, opening their stockings!!!!!!!
WHAT? ?@?#?$?%?^?^?$?$#??*?&?&
The fire was going.
Steve was sipping coffee.
The kids were opening their stockings.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Never in my entire life have I awoken to my family opening stockings without me.
Not once as a child.
Not once since becoming a mom.
I was horrified.
I was devastated.

With tear-filled eyes, I turned around and went back upstairs.
“I wanted to let you sleep,” Steve declared.
On Christmas Day?
On the most anticipated day of the year?
24 days of counting down.
Many more days of planning, shopping, and creating traditions that will be long remembered.
“I wanted to let you sleep.”

Every insecurity surfaced.
All feelings of rejection and dislike unearth.
Why would they start Christmas without me?

We’ve had some bad Christmases.
There was the one year, 2007, when we were living in Albuquerque.
I mean … we were living in hell.
I was pregnant with Sawyer.
I felt more alone and isolated than I can recall.
Prior to moving there, I told Steve that I was going to need him to take care of us.
I was going to need him to be intentional to not neglect our relationship.
And yet, that was the year Steve didn’t buy me a Christmas present.
To this day, I still don’t know why.
Something about not knowing what to get me.
Or maybe it was the fact that we were poor college students.

But this year tops that one.
This year will go down in my memory as one of the worst Christmases ever.