Christmas carols are playing softly in the background.  The sun has long ago set.  Hubs and the boys have headed off to bed and I am sitting here a bit nostalgic for holidays past. Half expect to see the Ghost of Christmas Past come strolling through.

As my kids get deeper and deeper into their own lives I know things will continue to change.  Today was an odd one for us.  Daughter and Grand Daughter are out of state, visiting with extended family.  The Boy is on the coast.  It looked a bit bleak.  Our youngest Grandson has to work tomorrow so he's still in town, and he joined us for dinner.

I'm deeply rooted in my immediate family, having been military they are my heart.  Not having them here... sadder than I expected.

Last weekend the girls, Hubs and I went to Arkansas to have an early Thanksgiving dinner with the family.  It was wonderful!  So nice to have everyone together. It'd been four years since we'd done that. All families change.

Since being home Hubs and I have puttered about, working on Christmas gifts and spending some quality, quiet time together.

With his injured back Hubs is still not really able to walk with me, so I set off for my morning walk alone.  I look forward to that together time, it's a chance to talk without distractions.  It's not we solve world hunger or anything, but we both know we have each others undivided attention as we power through.  So the silence (conversation wise) is deafening.

Hubs knows I love my Christmas music, he also knows I hate ear buds, so he has brought me two different pairs to try.  Yesterday's were a definite no go, I could hear each step as the cord swung back and forth, they hurt my ears and basically made me miserable.  Today's were better.  I don't love them, but if I have to walk alone at least it's not in total silence.

I can't wait for him to be healed, I miss having him there.

My mind goes crazy places as the miles fall away under my feet.  Staring at the gloomy early morning sky today only made the melancholy stronger.  Sweet Hubs tried to make it less noticeable, but... I know I shouldn't be so whiny.  I have friends that will always have an empty seat at the table. That guilty feeling didn't make the grim cloud cover any easier to take.  As I searched for the silver lining and the beauty in this day of giving thanks I slowly realized it was all around me.

In the unique morning light the trees that still had their leaves glimmered.  The brilliant reds and golds stood out in sharp contrast.

Every step had me falling deeper into thought.  I cherish Christmas carols, I could listen to them year round. I'm not sure why.  The soft beauty just pulls at my heart.  They calm me.   And so I walked/ran and felt the calmness returning.

Hubs knew today would be tough, he met me as I returned with the perfect Bloody Mary and we sat outside in the chilly air and talked.  I actually spent quite a bit of time spoiling myself this morning.  My heart needed it.

I am thankful that Hubs and I have our children and grandchildren.  And that even when they aren't near, they are in our hearts and thoughts. Sitting outside we talked about them, Christmas with them, and how each year seemed a bit different.

I was so pleased to be sure my suited up Grandson had a great holiday.  Maybe not the holiday he'd expected, but plenty of food and love.  He's 17, that is not often an easy age.  As he showed up in a suit and tie, helped set and clear the table and ate to his fill, my heart was filled with peace and love.

Hubs and I spent the day fixing a healthy meal, unsure if he'd show up.  I had his favorites, but the majority of the meal I focused on more of the foods we eat now.  Hubs and I didn't start a diet to walk away from whenever we wanted, we started a lifestyle change.  As I chopped what felt like millions of veggies today, altered recipes to how we eat now, I was in awe of the changes.

As we sat for the meal, I was worried.  Gone were the marshmallows and fat laden treats of old.  I didn't make a fruit salad, traditional stuffing didn't grace the table either.  And yet, it was fabulous.  The grandson that doesn't eat any vegetables tried everything except the cauliflower stuffing (which is delicious by the way).

After he headed out and we'd cleaned up the kitchen and dishes, it was time to relax.  Unusual to say the least. The boys in a turkey coma slept while we caught up on so many missed episodes of Madam Secretary. Hubs in his recliner, me sitting on the sofa with my Gator knitting away as the sun set.

Around the neighborhood several homes glowed with the fullness within.  Streets were lined with cars. Down near us, it was quiet.  Hubs and I were making new traditions.  Tomorrow I will probably decorate, today it was emotionally too much.  This Christmas will be the first one ever without my boy.  I will deal with that later.

I am thankful for much.  I am blessed by much.  I have a daughter and son that I love so much and am very proud of.  Grandchildren that fill my heart with love and joy!  A new one on the way.  A Husband that blesses my life in so many ways that I cannot count them.  I still have both my boys. I have a family that I love.  Friends that I cherish. And even though I am enjoying this small window of downtime, I have a career doing something I love.

I truly am blessed. Things will always be different. Change isn't bad, it's just change...

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