My Favorite Christmas Memory

My Favorite Christmas Memory

This was my favorite Christmas.

My favorite Christmas was definitely the one that we had when I was in the seventh grade. Everything was as close to okay as it ever got around there and things were good. There was so much snow on the ground.

I remember worrying about how Christmas was going to turn out because I would constantly hear the arguments between my stepparents about how they were going to manage to afford to buy seven kids Christmas presents. It was a lot of pressure on them, but the day Christmas actually came I think we were all pleasantly surprised. I can still remember the tears that I cried when I opened up the present that had my very first cell phone in there. I was in such shock because I remember my stepfather repeatedly making it a point to let me know that I wasn't going to get a cell phone this year. I had wanted a cell phone more than anything else. Not to mention, a group of people from a church brought each of my siblings and I a huge cardboard box filled with presents for us all!

I still to this day believe that was probably the best Christmas that we ever shared together. There was no arguing, no yelling. We were just all together as a family and we loved each other. I wish every year had been like that one.

Later that night, we ended up having a bonfire party and a bunch of my stepparents friends came over and I was actually allowed to sit outside with the grown ups and join in on adult conversation. I felt so loved that day. If only every day could have been like that.

Cover Image Credit: Larisa Koshkina

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Getting Past the Past

Allowing yourself to move on to better things because you deserve it.

Over the past few months, I have dealt with giving up a lot of things that I don't want to let go of. So much so that I let these things absolutley consume me. I have always over analyzed things, so it is really hard for me to get past something that I don't understand. I have prayed and asked God to help me move on from things I have no control over, but I still found myself obsessing over things that I will not ever be able to change. 

In Philip. 3:13-15, Paul says: "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you."

Paul says that the first step in moving forward is forgetting what is behind.

Sometimes our past is filled with some huge hurts and letdowns.  You may have been physically, mentally, or emotionally abused. You may have been the child of divorce or been divorced yourself. You may have made a serious mistake and hurt someone (All too guilty of this). You may have lost a loved one in a tragic accident. You may have been rejected so many times you feel as if you will never be accepted. 

The mind feasts on what it focuses on, and you can figure out what a person is feasting on by just listening to what comes out of their mouths. 

There will always be bad days, bad things will happen, and I will be rejected and hurt many more times in the future. But I have realized that God sent Jesus who loves us constantly and will always stay the same- even through all the bad things that life can bring. God is good at being God, and nothing that we do can change that. 

So I am letting myself let go. I am letting go of things I can't change because there is no future in living in the past. I encourage you to do the same- let it go and let God. 

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Mom, You Are My Happy Place

Here is everything I've ever wanted to say to my cat-obsessed, coffee-loving, one-of-a-kind, beautiful Mom.

I've read articles written about moms from their daughters over the past few years and I've never related to them —at least not by much. As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that this was happening because the relationship between my Mom and me is unique — different from any other I've ever seen or heard of.

Here is everything I've ever wanted to say to my cat-obsessed, coffee-loving, one-of-a-kind, beautiful Mom.

Dear Mom,

Thank you for being the strongest woman I've ever known. You've withstood more hurt in your life than I would ever wish upon my worst. These last two years have been so difficult, exhausting, and grueling —yet here you are, being the most beautiful version of yourself.

And I am so proud of you. I will fight to the end to show this world who you are — the wonderful, sassy, courageous woman you are. The kind of woman and mom I hope to God I can be even half of one day.

Thank you for being my biggest supporter. I've never seen a more avid soccer mom — seriously. The love you have for the sport alone is enough to show. But trying your best to be there for every match, and being heartbroken when you couldn't, means more to me than you know. Knowing my biggest fan was right there supporting me was all I needed.

And being there when I chose a brand new sport, regardless of the cost, warms my heart. Choosing to swim was one of the best choices I've made thus far in life, and I wouldn't have done it without your help. You sat through the long meets, knowing little to nothing about the sport itself, just proud of that little girl in the pool.

Thank you for loving me. I know this one is semi-obvious, but I am more than serious. You stood right by me, holding my hand, when I went through the worst year of my life. You were there to spoon-feed me when I was diagnosed with Cibophobia. You were there through the hundreds of break downs, the frustrating days when I was eating little to no food. You were there for all the therapy appointments, all the days it took me several minutes to swallow a small pill, all the days when I was so lost. You remained calm. You saved me. You loved me regardless.

Thank you for our jokes. When I'm with you, there's a smile on my face, a loud and embarrassing laugh about to break through, and an incredibly warm heart. You bring me so much joy with just your presence alone. I know you can never stay mad at me for long, and although it's rare that you are, I love that I can make you smile and forget all about it. And I love that you can do the same even more.

Thank you for being so beautiful. I get compliments all the time about how much I look like you and there seriously isn't a greater compliment I could receive. When you smile and laugh, you glow. Your olive green eyes that you gave to me light up when I surprise you by coming home without telling. So many features I got from you and I couldn't be happier to be anyone else's look-a-like. You have such a beautiful, courageous heart and that's my favorite part of you.

Thank you for always believing in me. I don't believe in myself often until I hear from you. Your texts throughout the day, the calls I receive, the FaceTime dates we have.... I use these simple gestures as motivation to believe in myself. Because I know you believe in me. There's nothing in this world that would hurt more than disappointing you — and I thank you for instilling that belief in me.

You give me something to fight for. You taught us from a young age that we can do anything we fight hard for, and although the time went too fast, here I am, doing what you taught me to.

You deserve the world and I tell you that often in hopes you'll finally believe it. You are worth more than gold.

You deserve the happiness you are receiving — every bit of it.

Mom, you are my happy place.

Sitting with you in the big maroon chair back at home is my happy place.

Cuddles with you on Sunday morning is my happy place.

Breakfast on the lawn with you is my happy place.

Being wrapped in a big hug from you is my happy place.

This life is my happy place.

Because of you.

"She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings." — Ariana Dance

Cover Image Credit: Tami Auen

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