Laney helping her friend feed his animals.
I have been thinking all week about some of the funny things I remember about Laney. They come at me during various times of the day, and they have made me both laugh and cry. I wanted to share some of them with you. Like last night, when Ally texted me goodnight. (What is up with teens these days?) My immediate thought was that when Laney was little she always told us “nee night.” So that is how I answered Ally back. And then I cried.
I just saw a pin on Pinterest of a cake someone made. It was a polka-dot cake. It had some colorful blobs of dough in a muffin tin. For some reason, it made me think of play-dough. Laney LOVED play-dough. She didn’t necessarily want to play with it. She like the smell of it. One year in high school, Laney asked for play-dough for Christmas. She wanted the packet of like 24 different ones. They were really cute and came in these tiny containers. I don’t think that there was much in each one. Laney loved them. They are still in her closet.
My favorite, though, is this one: My kids’ dentist, Dr. Kevin Markham, is AMAZING. Like, my kids would beg to go see him amazing. He is so good, that Laney didn’t know she got a shot at the dentist until she was 14 years old. I can very clearly recall the conversation. It went like this: Laney: I have never had a shot when I go to the dentist. Me: Yes, you do. Laney: No I don’t. He just gives me sleepy juice. Me: Laney. He gives you shots. He just calls them sleepy juice. Laney: No he doesn’t. She was appalled that she didn’t know for so long. We all thought it was funny.
I think that as these little moments keep coming to me, I will share some of them with you once in a while. I hope they make you laugh, too.
The nativity we got one piece at a time.
Years ago, I stopped using Santa clause and snowmen to decorate for Christmas. I think it was then that I decided that Christmas was too commercialized for us. So I started collecting nativities. I would buy a new one every year. I also made some of my own as well. Those are my favorite.
Last year, as you know,we didn’t put the tree up. No nativities went up then, either. This year, we at least got the tree up, but I never could bring myself to pull out even a single nativity. Then someone knocked on our door and brought us a donkey. Don’t worry…it was porcelain.
This started the 12 days of Christmas for us. A different person would come each night, bringing a different piece of the nativity. Each piece would come attached with part of the story from the scriptures of Christ’s birth. The last night, we got the baby Jesus.
This turned out to be the only nativity we put up this year. It was perfect. My kids kept wondering who was behind the nativity. It wasn’t like someone would ring the doorbell and run. It was handed to us by various people. The most we got out of one person was that it was someone who loved us and loved Laney, too. I think that was good enough for me.
So to our secret Santa…Thank you. You brought a little more of Christmas to our home this year when we couldn’t do it ourselves.
I have made my children ornaments for Christmas since they were little. I started the tradition that I would make them one each year and when they got married, they would take the ornaments with them and start their own family tree. So, when it comes time to decorate the tree, we divide up the ornaments into six different piles and then everyone puts their own ornaments on the tree. I always write on the back to tell them I love them and put their age and the year.
Last year, we couldn’t put up a tree. Losing Laney was still too close to our hearts and so we didn’t even bother. It was all we could do to get a present for the kids. This year, things are a little softer, so we were ready to try and put the tree up, as well as the stockings I had made the kids years ago.
Only I didn’t expect the emotion that came with it. It is always harder when I am not expecting it. We decided not to put the ornaments in piles, so I just started putting them on the tree. I was happily hanging ornaments when I ran into one that made me smile. Until I turned it over and the memories came flooding back. It was one I had given to Laney when she was 4 years old. It was a polar bear. I remember her picking it out of my tole painting book.
Then as I hung up the stockings, I pulled Laney’s out and started to cry. I vividly remember sitting with all of the kids while they picked material out of my material box so I could make them each a stocking. Laney insisted on hers being different. And it was. Just like her.
My kids give each other a present for Christmas every year. They still give one to Laney, too. Because Laney loved service so much, we have decided to each give Laney the present of doing service for someone else. We then write what we did on a card and put it in a treasure box where we will look at them every year at Christmas.
Christmas has changed for us. It is more about each other and less about what we get. The kids are more excited about their service and what they are giving to others. I think we are gonna make it through another Christmas missing Laney.