2014 was a hard year.
It was filled with transitions in our family. Some were welcome changes... had a sweet baby, had our first full year as State Farm business owners. A few were not so welcome... lots of up and downs with Matt's health and the financial strain of going from full time employee to full time employER.
The strain hit hard and we did our best to push back. We cut back everything we could in the budget and really only bought stuff we "needed". This meant that Christmas would be a heck of a lot different than it's been in the past.
Matt and I both LOVE gifts. We love giving them to each other and we love getting them from each other. In an effort to be mature (not my strong suit) and to not spend money we didn't have (also not my strong suit), I suggested that we not do gifts. This probably doesn't sound like a big deal to most people. Plenty of couples don't do gifts. But we enjoy it so much, it was a big sacrifice for us to let it go.
But I put on my big girl panties and dealt with it.
I had to reassure Matt about 757 times that I really meant it and this wasn't some trick to make him think I didn't want gifts but I really wanted him to read between the lines and buy me gifts anyway. Not that I've ever done such a thing in the past...
My reassurance gave him the confidence to follow through and we were both going to enjoy the season even if it meant no gifts.
On Christmas Eve morning, which is the time we've always exchanged gifts, Matt and I got up early to exchange stockings. We couldn't cut out everything all at once! The gifts were small but very thoughtful and after we were done we just sat and talked in front of our tree. I couldn't help but feel a little bit disappointed... or a lot a bit. It's Matt's fault. If he weren't so awesome at giving gifts, I wouldn't miss them so much.
We realized time was slipping away and we had to get ready to go to brunch so Matt hopped up and went to the kitchen. He told me to come look at the rain because it was really coming down. When I got into the kitchen, he had opened the door and walked out on the porch. He looked down at a big bag and said "well, what could this be?"
I knew right away that he had cheated.
And I loved him for it.
I took the box inside and tried to keep my cool. But inside I felt like I was going to burst with excitement. The big wrapped box could have had a bag of twizzlers inside and I wouldn't have cared. It was just being able to experience the excitement and anticipation of such a fun surprise that had me all giddy.
I opened it up and saw the beautiful Hunter logo.
Inside that perfectly British box were the most beautiful shiny RED rain boots.
I couldn't help it.
I lost it.
I cried. and cried, and cried and cried and cried.
I wasn't crying over the boots.
Yes, they were beautiful and I had been wanting some for a while now. But these boots represented something so much more. If different seasons bring different weather, this one for us brought storms. As soon as we felt like we were getting a break, the sky seemed to open up and another downpour would begin. We pulled together and made a decision that no matter what, we would choose joy.
There's a saying that goes like this... "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."
So here we are in a shiny New Year with shiny new boots knowing that rain will come and when it does, we're gonna play in it til it passes.
2014 was a hard year.