Every year my humongous (and loud and crazy) family meets at church for Christmas Eve mass. My Grandmother (yes, the flower girl in my wedding) is the muse for anyone trying to be a church lady. She counts the church money, makes the funeral dinners, used to sing in the choir, passes out communion and is know around town as the noodle lady (Grandpa is the beer mustard maker). So when she says be there, you show up and you get dressed up. To paint a picture, this is my Mom's side of the fam and she has 5 brothers and sisters in the crew and my grandparents, there are 14 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren (with my little one on the way to make it 9!). And there are some husbands/wives in there, some of which call themselves the 'outlaws'. We are looking at about 40 people, loud people.
It is a righteous time with a gift exchange, white elephant exchange, euchre tournaments, booze and a lot of food and even more sugar.
This year was the first year my husband joined our Christmas traditions. We are married now so he is allowed into the festivities. Grandma is pretty real on keeping it tight knit and family only. She didn't want random boyfriends or girlfriends from all over everywhere barging in every other year. God love her. Seriously God, love that womanup!
We out-of-towners usually shack up about 10 deep at Grandma's house while they sleep out in their motor home in the driveway. I know, aren't you loving this painted picture? 10 people deep is insanity and those 10 people all have to be ready and ON TIME to church. NOTE: My family has three sisters and my Mom, we take forever. With something like 40 people, we have to get there early to save about 4 rows. We never get 4 rows and truthfully, I am never an earlybird ready in time to be a seat saver. We used to dominate the cry room, but a lot of us are grown ups now (which is weird to know, feel, be). I stand often or my Uncle Eric gives me his seat (he is always on time, brown noser!).
So the husband and I roll up to church this year right on time. Okay fine, about 2 minutes late. I choose to stand because well, I was late and it is only fair. So the music is playing, people are singing and the incense infiltrated my nostrils and so many memories rush into my mind. I hold Chris' hand and keep rejecting the sweet offers from people to let me sit in their seat, after they recognize I am pregnant probably looking way more months than I was due to cookie, m&m's, fudge and hot cocoa consumption. I want to stay by Chris, I have been waiting for this moment for a long time.
I have been waiting.
The moment when I actually had a someone to bring to church. The moment that I got to invite someone into the crazy Christmas traditions, all the loud and all the love. The moment when I had someone to check in on and see if he was doing okay and has my Uncle scared him yet?
See, I am the second oldest cousin. The first oldest cousin, Amanda, has been married forever and has two amazing kids. She was basically my idol growing up and I remember being so jealous when she had a boyfriend and then a husband and then even kids! Naturally I was like, I want all of that and oh, me next in line!
Ha. Haha. Ha. Hahaha.
Oh sorry for the laughter. I literally just remembered how NOT ready I was to get married at any time in my 20s. Not ready at all. And I moved to California and added a little more crazy to my mix.
So of course, all the younger cousins start to get married. This is Indiana people, the Midwest hearts. They get married way way way earlier! Like age 24. Let's not even talk about where I was at 24, refer to legacies blog, read Hollywood Jacki phase.
Every Christmas I thought how exciting it will be to bring my "other half" with me. When we have babies and bring a new dynamic to the family. And for many Christmases, that did not happen. Which to be clear, I was totally fine with. I really was. Yet, you know your crazy family, they start in with the whole "do you even want to get married?", "which cousin do you think is next? Oh, not Jacki....", "are you a lesbian?", "what's going on in your life these days out there in the weird West Coast?". I was totally, totally fine....
So back to church, standing next to Chris holding his hand, church-y music and church-y smells and I break down. Big time. I am talking cry fest 2015, get your tickets!Tears are rolling down my dressed up face and welling underneath my newly cut bangs. And I just am overwhelmed with...oh, what do you call it...JOY. I am overwhelmed with joy. I am overwhelmed with this moment actually happening in the present time that I had dreamed and envisioned for so many, many years. I am standing next to my husband, pregnant with our first child and my humongous, loud and crazy family is standing in their rows and singing and it is just a lot for my emotional body, mind, heart (all of the above). So I just cry.
There is this part in the Catholic church where you turn to all the people around you and share peace. I really actually love this part. You shake hands and say "Peace be with you" or you can get cool with it and just say "Peace". It is really a lovely gesture. And as that moment approaches in the mass, I run over to the family rows from my standing cry post and I start hugging my people and sharing the peace be with you's and the tears are rolling. Everyone is asking if I am okay and what is going on and I am the kind of crying human that cannot really cry and talk at the same time, much less function or look pretty, so I just smile through tears and remind them that I am pregnant and emotional and that I love everybody and peace.
And it was really sweet. The peace, the connection and all the crying up in God's house and Grandma's church lady domain.
And as I sit here at home in Colorado in the newest year writing this to you, I am thinking about that moment. All those moments that move you. It is really beautiful to be moved to tears. Especially when moved by joy amongst family and all the church-y smells and songs. And I feel it happens by design. You get to design your days, your moments, your vision for the future. You have that choice. Hell, you have that human right. You get to design the moments that move you and all the little moments (cough, and mistakes) that got you to that point.
For my 2016, I want more moments that move me to the emotional, ugly crying that is caused from overwhelming joy, joy, joy. I declare it.
Now, I get to get up to creating it.
Your turn, are you in? Are you up for the ugly cries and the being moved to tears moments this year? Let's just do it, let's get vulnerable, real and raw and all up in our life design together.
Let's go for it. Put it out there.