• Alexandra Smith

Once upon a December

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

I have been quiet as we still try to figure out this whole family thing. And this whole pandemic thing.

Growing up, Christmas was always my favorite time of year. My parents would decorate the house, both inside and out. Christmas Day meant great food and tons of presents. I would watch any and all Christmas programs on Cartoon Network or ABC Family (now Freeform).

As an adult, Christmas means decorating my own home, making delicious treats and being filled with warmth as I watch my friends and family enjoy open the gifts that I curated for them.

Unfortunately, this year is different due to COVID-19. The season feels a little colder. Empty. The only thing that keeps me hanging on is that I get to introduce what I love about this season with Gwen. Sure, she's too young to understand what's going on, but I get to start instilling the magic in her now. Last week, her and I cuddled on the couch and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. The tree was lit and we were snuggled under a soft Christmas blanket.

We won't be gathering with family this year. Presents have been packaged in boxes and are traveling throughout different parts of Ohio or across the U.S. to Colorado. Our phones will be charged for FaceTime on Christmas Eve and Day. The cookie menu has been minimized.

We are so grateful, though. I always express the sentiment that,

"I never imagined we would get here."

When Gwen was in the NICU, it was hard to envision the future. A time where she was growing and wasn't in the hospital. She is so big now. She has said her first word (it was "dada"). She is crawling. She is trying to walk. She's eating solids. So many milestones!

Zach and I have our physical health, too, despite the amount of cookies and cheese we're consuming. We have had other challenges here, but we have faith in God that He will guide us through.

Yesterday, trucks began rolling out the first batch of the emergency COVID-19 vaccine. To me, this is a Christmas miracle. This is a sign that every Christmas won't be like this one. Christmas will once again be filled with family and warmth. People won't feel alone or secluded. Gwen will get to enjoy time with her family and friends around a magical season. A revival is coming and the world will witness it.

It's hard not to feel alone, stressed or depressed this holiday season. If you find yourself feeling that way, please reach out to me at aesmithmails@gmail.com. You always have a friend.

Happy Holidays from myself, Zach and Gwen.

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