Traditions That Mean Something

The Christmas season starts early at our house. We've been listening to Christmas songs and watching Christmas movies for a month now. It's one of our most special holiday traditions of the year, and it all started six years ago during a very dark time in our lives.

2011 was a bittersweet year for us. After years of infertility, we were finally expecting twins due in November. It all ended suddenly in May. We miscarried a second time in mid-October.

As October drew to a close, we were freshly grieving our losses, and we needed something to get us past Halloween, a night that is so fun and yet so excruciating when you want children but don't have them.

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That year, we decided that we really needed Christmas to come early. So on October 31st, we chose to stay home and kick off the Christmas season by watching one of our favorite renditions of Charles Dickens's classic A Christmas Carol. It seemed like a perfect ghostly tale for such a night.

We had no idea at the time that we were ushering in a new family tradition.

In 2012, life didn't get much better. We watched loved ones die, and Chris dealt with another debilitating health ordeal after developing his second deep vein thrombosis in five years. To top it all off, our arms were still empty. As Halloween rolled around, we decided to do what we had done the year before and have our own little Halloween-Christmas party.

That was our last Halloween with empty arms. The following year, we welcomed Sunshine into our lives, and it only seemed fitting to continue the tradition we had started out of desperation with broken hearts two years before. As we sat and watched A Christmas Carol with our newborn daughter, it felt so surreal and reminded us of all we had to be thankful for that year.

These days, on October 31st, we get our own little ones dressed up to go trick or treating, and once the fun is over, and we've tucked our precious girls into their beds, we turn on the movie and remember how blessed we are that this is our story now.

I think that some of the best family traditions are the ones that mean something to our family. They remind us of where we've been and what we've been through together. They bring us closer to each other and help us remember to be grateful for all of the blessings God has given us.