Katie at Christmastime

The truth is…it’s getting harder by the day as the holiday approaches and the joy around us swells. We are lucky and blessed to have so many friends and family working their butts off to be with us exactly as we are. “Open invitations, zero expectations.” We are lucky and blessed to know that they truly get it why and when we cancel, which we’ve done a LOT of this season. (As in: almost every plan we’ve had thus far.) As my husband said last night, “we Rhoades are not an easy duo to be around right now.” How lucky and BLESSED are we that we have people still willing to try?

We are bracing for impact of the weekend to come, but I’m working very hard on remembering what we loved about the Christmas season with our Katie. Remembering what SHE loved and not allowing the memories of what’s to come from last year to dampen those beautiful gifts of time we had with her.

So, as I do with many other special occasions, I ask you to remember her. Be kind for her. If you are inclined, share your favorite memory of her with me, or tell me what you find special about her. I love to hear it all, and during a time of such pain and grueling, active MISSING her, it’s helpful.

Oh, my Katie at Christmastime.

She loved sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies, but only ones made by Grandma orĀ Kate Abernethy Turner. Bonus if they were shaped like Mickey Mouse.

She loved A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph but her absolute favorite Christmas special was The Grinch. She would watch so intently and truly want to know “WHY is the Grinch so MEAN mommy??” Her favorite part of the show was the Grinch’s dog, who Kate called “Maxie Waxie.” When the Grinch’s heart grows at the end, she’d get the sweetest little grin and say “awwww” with her head tilted to the side.

It would be impossible to tell you what her favorite Christmas present of all time was because she loved all presents equally. She was as thrilled over her Shopkins toothbrush and princess ChapStick as she was her big Santa presents. I can tell you that MY favorite gift she got was her Build-A-Bear gift certificate, because we got to take her right after Christmas to pick out what she wanted. She loved the entire thing and it was yet another memory made last year.

Kate sang jingle bells all month long. She loved Christmas jammies and breaking out the Christmas books every year and reading them on repeat. She left cookies & milk for Santa and dictated a perfect note to leave every year. She checked to see if Santa ate his cookies every Christmas morning before doing ANYThing. She left glittered reindeer food and carrots behind and thought it was HILARIOUS that reindeer liked oatmeal.

She loved colored lights and inflatables and you were a hero if you decorated your front yard with both. She’d oooh and aaaah at every house that had even the smallest of decoration and she’d walk through our own house and say “oooooh mommy it’s beauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutiful!” at every decoration we had.

Last year, Grandma volunteered for her classroom party and Kate LOVED the bingo game she played with the children. We played it at dinner time, too, and used red & green M&Ms as the pieces.

Kate, I have no idea how I will get through a single Christmas without you, let alone a lifetime of them. There are so many things I wished for you. So many things I still want to tell you. But in the spirit of my original intent, I am going to say only that I love you. I miss you. You are my best friend FOREVER. I promise.

You are my angel rejoicing in perfect, beautiful, heavenly peace…because YOU are perfect, beautiful and heavenly. And you are at peace.

I pray for the same.

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