I’m happy today. I really am despite the fact that I laid on my bed and bawled uncontrollably this morning–full on stomach lurching, body shaking, eyes swelling–an ugly cry to the utmost degree. After hours of packing last night and a heap of suitcases, bags and bins of presents next to the front door ready to be loaded up this morning, we decided to stay home. Yes…we. For the first time, I really feel unselfish–like I did something for Brett because I love him despite what everything inside me told me I wanted to do. I wanted to go to Michigan so badly–to spend Christmas Eve surrounded by family, to bundle up and sit next to my dad’s fireplace on Christmas morning with Karen Carpenter singing “Merry Christmas, Darling” in the distance while the cinnamon scent from the rolls in the oven wafts through the air and the cold snow falls silently behind the window. Don’t laugh…it’s not a storybook…it’s what it’s really like in Michigan every Christmas–magic. I had every outfit for Lainey picked out from the red plaid dress she was going to wear at my brother’s on Christmas Eve to the new green Fair Isle cardigan for Christmas morning. But, circumstances prevailed. Brett’s in the middle of selling his business, and the stress overcame him this morning as he painfully admitted that leaving for a big trip in the midst of all of this was going to put him over the edge. The word “heart attack” was mentioned, if I recall. I could have cried and told him this was too important to me and that it would kill me not to go. That’s true, but what is more true is that I love him, I love our family, and I want what is best for us regardless of how sad I am. So, instead, I cried and told him I thought it was best for us to stay. Now, I have to make the best of it. I could easily sulk and dwell on what I’m missing, but I’m not going to. For the first time, I am the matriarch of the Christmas traditions…I get to choose how we are going to do this. I will make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and play Karen Carpenter’s “Merry Christmas, Darling.” I will spray fake snow on the windows and tell the kids we are in Michigan. I will light a fire and choose to be happy. It’s Lainey’s first Christmas, and it WILL be magical. So, for now, I unpack and do things that make me happy, like take pictures of Lainey.