The other night I was getting Obed ready for bed, changing his diaper and putting on his pajama’s. The jammies he was wearing that night was a purchase by Grandma- green and white striped footies with the words “Best Gift EVER” across the front. He’s worn these pajama’s many times, but that night the words really caught my attention. Best Gift EVER. Obed is a pretty special gift, and my thoughts naturally wondered if he was our best gift this year. And then I started thinking about this year. It’s been a big year. A good year. What WAS our best gift ever this year?
We got our first Christmas card in the mail this week. I LOVE getting Christmas cards and year-end letters. Love it. For as much as I love getting these cards and letters, I’m absolutely terrible about sending them. But thanks to cyber space, I can still write a letter and you can read it. Not as cool as getting an addressed and stamped envelope in the mail, but this is as good as it will get. Here is our 2014 Christmas letter:
2014 BEST GIFT EVER
January: 2014 started out pretty shaky. January 1 found Ava in the hospital and nobody could figure out what was wrong. She spent a total of two weeks in the hospital, had surgery on her shunt and a recovery of several weeks. This has been Ava’s last major hospitalization… read: Ava has not been in the hospital for 321 days (as of this writing). BEST GIFT EVER!
February: My birthday. I like to think I’m at least a few people’s best gift ever! 🙂
March: Obed Hudson joined our family on the night of March 8. His birth experience was by far the easiest out of our three and he came smoothly into the world after only two pushes. Every mama knows this is the BEST GIFT EVER!
April: Ava had a MRI that showed no active tumor cells and only a very small mass for which the doctors didn’t know how to label. After two years of our heartache, this was the BEST GIFT EVER.
May: Ava turned 5!!! BEST GIFT EVER to celebrate another birthday with her. Our hearts are so thankful. Jeff turned 39. I’ll let him comment on whether or not this was the best gift ever.
June: The ice finally melted off Lake Superior and we finally turned off our heater. After literally months of not seeing the temperature above 0* and the most brutal winter I’ve ever experienced, this was the BEST GIFT EVER.
July: Auntie Trina arrived for her summer visit and we vacationed in Wisconsin Dells. Having my sister along on our vacation and having her spend her summers with us is always the BEST GIFT EVER.
August: Jeff started a new job this summer. He’s now doing exterior home sales for the Home Depot. A big change for us in that this job’s compensation is 100% commission. It has been exciting (!), and at times nail biting, to see how God will provide for our family each month. So far He has taken good care of us. BEST GIFT EVER. Relying on God to directly provide for our monthly needs has both stretched and strengthened our faith.
September: Ava started Kindergarten! She loves every minute of it and is excited every morning to head to school. Oakley took it a bit harder and sobbed the first day when he was told he could not go with her. He has slowly adjusted but I think the best part of his day is when Ava comes home. Ava is learning many new things at school, but one thing her and I are learning together is how to read. Teaching Ava to read and helping her unlock the mystery and power of words has been one of my BEST GIFTS EVER this year. At parent teacher conferences, Ava’s teacher said Ava is kind to others, polite and well mannered, listens well, catches on quickly and is one of her top students. After all Ava has been through, all the warnings from our doctors about what radiation and chemo could do to Ava’s brain, this was the BEST GIFT EVER.
October: Ava had another MRI. Again, her scan showed NO TUMOR and the doctor felt that the abnormality still showing on the scan was likely scar tissue. This means Ava’s next MRI will be in ONE YEAR! And she was able to have her port removed. Having her port removed was probably Ava’s BEST GIFT EVER. A clear MRI was mine and Jeff’s.
November: Ava lost her first tooth. She’ll tell you she got two pennies for it. (They were quarters, for the record). She thought this was the BEST GIFT EVER. The first snow fell this month and with it, Oakley wanting to be out shoveling at all times. Someday, this eagerness to shovel will be Jeff’s BEST GIFT EVER.
December: Jeff and I will celebrate 8 years of marital bliss. We all know it hasn’t been all bliss, but Jeff continues to be my BEST GIFT EVER. Oakley will turn 3 years old this December. He easy going, sweet and charming, cuddly and spunky. Oakley has weathered many storms with ease and grace. His personality has been on of our BEST GIFTS EVER.
Our Good Lord has blessed us much this year. As the Christmas season approaches, and I reflect on the past year, I grow more and more thankful that God loved me…US!… enough to send his only Son to earth as a little baby. That truly was the BEST GIFT EVER.