Thanksgiving Day was a very good day.  My little family of four spent our time smelling delicious food cooking in the kitchen, enjoying each other during a little craft time, and snuggled on the sofa watching movies.  I ended the day by meeting one of my friends for our annual Black Friday shopping trip.  We were entering what I felt was going to be the best holiday season we had spent together as a family.

The next day, things started to fall apart.

As I’ve mentioned, my grandfather called me the next night to let me know that my grandmother had passed away.  She had been incredibly ill, so it was expected but surprisingly hard for me.  Minutes before we laid her to rest, I looked at her and thought that as difficult as this was, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it’s been like for all of my friends who have had to bury their parents, and God forbid, their children.

Two weeks later, my family confronted that fear head on as one of my cousins died in a tragic accident while he was on a much anticipated vacation out of the country.  I hadn’t actually seen him since we were kids since our family is so spread out, but here my family was burying a 30-year old son who had lost his life in a way that no one could have ever seen coming.

Tragedy continued less than a week later, as the news broke out of Newton, CT.  I had been offline and away from the television that day, and I luckily didn’t learn of the news until I had my own 6-year old safely at home.  The terror, panic and grief that has rocked that community (and our entire nation) has only begun to settle inside of me.

With so much loss over the last four weeks, I have to admit to you that I have been engulfed in emotional turmoil.  My husband often accuses me of taking other people’s tragedies personally.  He’s right, and I think it’s one of my very best and very worst qualities.  If you have shared your life with me (either personally or online), I have laughed with you and cried with you, even though you might not even know it.  I generally can shake it off, but this time, I simply can’t.

In the hustle of the holiday season, there are far too many important things we brush off for the sake of buying stocking stuffers and blogging about hanging Christmas garland.  This week I have spent many hours at my son’s school – sharing lunch with him, enjoying the holiday music programs and celebrating at the class Christmas party.  I’ve enjoyed seeming Emma shine during her ballet class and happily wiped her face when it was covered in green cookie frosting.  I am now far too aware that all of those little things, as little as they are, can be taken away in the blink of an eye.  I’m certain that no one has ever died thinking that they should have spent less time with their children.

Up until now, I know that I have lived a life too full.  I’ve taken on too much and not stopped to just sit down every once in a while and watch my children play.  Too often, I’ve counted down the hours until their bed time or grown impatient while they were trying to dress themselves or tie their own shoes.  I can’t promise that I will always be patient and entirely present, but I certainly am going to try.

So, today I ask for patience from you.  Patience when dealing with one another, as we are all fighting our own battles and having our own internal struggles.  Patience for those who may have views different than your own, as hard as I know that can be.  And patience for me as I take a break from this blog to truly reflect on the last four weeks in my life.

I will see you at the beginning of 2013 – with a much more upbeat attitude and a new perspective.  Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and much Love and Hugs from me.

Filed Under: Real Life with Lindsay

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. Maggie Fieger says:

    I am so sorry for all of your losses. I know that life can change in an instant, and we must enjoy each moment. I feel like I need to slow down and enjoy my grandkids because they are just as special

  2. Big hugs to you, Lindsay. What an emotionally draining month you’ve had. I hope you can take time to recuperate.

    I too am one of those Moms who tries to do too much with and for my children. It leads to frustrations when things don’t go as planned and I end every single day completely exhausted and spent. I too hope to make some changes in the new year. Thank you for this post! xx

  3. Lindsay, you and your family have suffered many losses in the past month – close and not so close, but losses none the less. Take all the time you need to grieve. We each grieve and recover differently. I too find that the small things become more important and help me to heal.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. You have brought a lot of joy to me in the past few months since I started following your blog.

    When you’re ready, we’ll look for your next post.

    {{{HUGS}}} Camille

  4. Lindsay – I am sorry to hear what your family has gone through. I totally agree with the CT (and Portland, OR also in our case) events affecting you. I hadn’t blogged in a few weeks due to computer issues, but after the Portland, OR shooting (we have friends that live up there) and now CT it wasn’t as important to me anymore. Our daughter is older so we had to explain 9/11 to her – this is so much harder. So, yesterday I wrote my thoughts in my blog and I think I will save my other DIY, etc posts until the new year. Merry Christmas and enjoy the holidays.

  5. Hi Lindsay –

    So sorry to hear hear about your cousin and Grandmother. Life is precious – and the events of the past weeks have reminded us all of that. There is nothing more important than spending quality time with family. Your children will grow up way too fast. Time now to be there for them- enjoying each moment and making happy memories for them to cherish when they are older.

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family. XO

    My best – Diane

  6. Great words. We lost my father and my hubby’s father within 3 1/2 weeks of each other this year. Our Christmas already is different….
    But I am making myself enjoy what and who I have with me…loving them…working on being
    patient with so many things to do and so little time…but nonetheless…
    Our children will all be home from college and out of state and for that I thank God,
    thanking Him for the blessings of our family being home for Christmas.
    Blessings and merry Christmas,

  7. Beautifully stated.

  8. So sorry to hear about your gram and the loss of your cousin. So much tragedy and such a short time. Your post was beautifully written and yes, perspective is one important thing I need to keep in mind. Thank you for sharing and Merry Christmas :)

  9. Linda Weeks says:

    I appreciate your reflections. we have sadness as do the people in Newton, CT, but loss makes one remember the sweetness of life, its brevity, while we have it. Share it, love them, listen, while they are here, people know that our time is what we have, enjoy, love, admire, and create. Blessings, Lindsay, and thanks for being a part of MY life!

  10. Beautiful, Lindz!

  11. Take all the time you need. We’ll be here when you get back!

  12. Oh, my best friend… if only we’d ever meet.

    I feel your pain. Truly. Engulfed in emotional turmoil is a perfect way to put it. You know I have three children and two of mine are the same age as yours. I walk my pre-k and kindergarten boys to their classes every morning. At times, throughout this week I felt like it was an effort to breath. What those parents must be feeling is unfathomable to me. I just keep thinking of the scripture in psalms that says, “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and He rescues the crushed in spirit.”

    I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother and cousin. Your post was written beautifully. I have seen nothing as eloquently written as this. You will be in my thoughts. Much Love, Amanda

  13. I’m sorry for you personal losses. Having not lost anyone close recently, it’s hard to remember the intensity sometimes.

    But for the other–enjoying the little moments with your children–I have been reading a blog called Hands Free Mama for the last few months. Her posts have really encouraged me into that feeling of enjoying and appreciating my time with my children. I can’t say I manage it 100% of the time, but I’m definitely closer than I was 6 months ago.


  14. Lindsay, I am keeping you and your family in my prayers. God Bless you all.


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