Just hard.

Christmas. A season of family, giving, love, joy and celebrations. But Christmas as a single mother is, well, just hard.

It’s hard that with a single income you cant afford to give the kinds of gifts you used to give to your kids.

It’s hard sitting on the couch alone as your kids tear into the humble gifts, wishing someone was there with you with their arm around you, enjoying the looks on their faces and reminiscing of past years when they were little.

It’s hard going to all of the Christmas parties and concerts and activities by yourself wishing someone else could share in your pride of the children’s efforts.

It’s hard doing all of the shopping, wrapping, preparing, baking, and planning that goes into making Christmas special.

It’s hard feeling like you are missing out on something even though you wouldn’t go back, even for a minute, to what you had.

It’s hard that your facebook feed is blowing up with all these beautiful and in tact families. Put together, happy and loving families. Of course also knowing that what you see on facebook does not represent the whole picture, how many people did I fool for years with happy family pictures all the while dying inside?

It’s hard that your kids are trying their best to not care that their dad didnt even want to see them for christmas, wouldn’t stop to think about getting them a gift or make them feel special. That they are working hard to make our new way of life seem normal.

Last year was our first Christmas alone. We had hardly any of our belongings, we had no idea of where we would be in the coming year, we had no idea how we would survive.

Yet here we are. God provided us with a place to live, a community of love and support, most of our belongings back with us, a steady job and lots and lots of healing. We might not be as far along in life as I’d hoped we would be by now and it continues to be so very hard, but God has been good.

I am thankful for family not too far away, who love us, share the burden and wrap their arms around me, let me cry and laugh, sometimes at the same time.

Christmas is hard as a single mom, but Jesus has made himself a place in our home and we are thankful, and he sits with me, walks with me, cries with me and rejoices with me.

I look forward to seeing what next Christmas will look like, knowing full well that it will still be hard, but maybe, just maybe, a little less hard than this year.

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