Every Christmas for the last five years I have been filled with joy and sadness. My favorite time of year has always been Christmas. I loved growing up in a home full of love and deep rooted holiday traditions.
Some of my fondest memories are of my Mom decorating our house with amazing Christmas decorations. Many were made by my Great Aunt Gwen. I also loved watching my Mom decorate our Christmas tree. She would string tons and tons of lights, my brother and I would help put on some of the decorations and then for at least two days my Mom would hang tinsel on every branch. On Christmas Eve we would go to Mass with my Dad’s side of the family and then to my Grandparent’s house for the family gift exchange and dinner. I was so blessed to be able to have this time with my Dad’s parents and family given that he died when I was 18 months old. Christmas day was filled with early mornings to check out our gifts, play and then head (gifts in tow) to my Mom’s parents. There we would hang out with our cousins and share what we got for Christmas. The most wonderful part of all of these traditions was knowing how much we were loved and that loved filled every room of our home, both of my Grandparent’s homes and my heart.
As I became a Mom, I knew I wanted to have many of the same traditions with my children. I wanted them to know the joy and love of the holidays. I wanted them to look forward to the Christmas decorations, decorating the tree, looking at their personal ornaments and knowing how much they were loved. These traditions began with my oldest daughter Bailey. Bailey was such a beautiful little baby and brought such joy to our family. Six years ago when I was pregnant with Kenzi, Kyle and I were excited that the following Christmas our home would be filled with more joy and laughter on Christmas with one additional child. I can still picture that moment. That hope and dream was diminished along with part of me when Kenzi died less than a month later.
For the last five years I have struggled to balance my heartache with my joy for the season. I am always a littler sadder during my favorite time of the year because Kenzi is not here. Each year I have purchased her an ornament, just like her big sister Bailey and now her little brothers. The first year it was a little bear with her name and date of birth on it and each year since it has been angels. I hang them together at the top of the tree and know that this is the special place on our tree for her ornaments. Ones she will never squeal with joy when she opens the box with her ornaments. Ones she will never ask me who gave them to her. She will never hang her ornaments on the tree with her siblings and I will never find out which Christmas decoration is her favorite so I can pass it down to her for her children.
I work hard every day to be the best Mom I can to my living children and honor Kenzi and what she has inspired me to do with Dolls for Daughters® and Kenzi’s Kidz. It is because of her that I found the will and the strength to find happiness in the darkest of times, the darkest moments. This year when we were able to help 913 families give gifts to their 3100 children, I felt blessed that these families and these parents would be able to see the joy on their children’s faces and hear some of them squeal with joy when they opened their gifts. It is with those hopes and dreams that make life without my sweet little girl a little easier.
As much as I wish I could have Kenzi back and give her gifts this year and every year, I cannot. So my wish is to have Kenzi’s House by 2017 and to help 3200 children have a brighter holiday season in 2013 and to sponsor 4 Kenzi’s Kidz families in 2013. And one of these days, I hope to hear from some of these children we have helped over the years, how they enjoyed their holidays and their gifts.
Merry Christmas Kenzi!