Yes, I have to admit, Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love driving through neighborhoods that are glowing with lights, I love the spirit of giving and most of all I love spending extra time with family and friends. Like most people, I used to wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas, but that changed 6 years ago...
Shortly after my oldest son turned one, I found out an acquaintance of mine had a little boy the same age who was just diagnosed with leukemia. When the mom started a blog about their journey, I read it diligently. I often found myself sitting at work reading the most recent update, wiping away the tears and unable to fathom having to go through that with your child.
Although reading the blog literally broke my heart, it changed how I looked at my son and how much I cherished every little thing... the way his chest rose and fell when he slept, the way he would say "hewwoo" (hello) when the phone rang, the pitter patter of his little feet when I came home from work, everything seemed like a gift. I was lucky my child was healthy, I was lucky my child was happy and I was lucky to be his mom.
This little boy's name was Dax and the doctors said he probably wouldn't live until Christmas. Dax really loved seeing Christmas lights, so his whole town decorated for Christmas around Halloween time just to put a smile on that little boy's face when they drove home (isn't that what the Christmas spirit is really about?). Eventually everyone around the nation was putting up Christmas lights and posting pictures on DecorateForDax.com. Dax died shortly after Christmas in 2009. (To read more about Dax, visit www.daxlocke.org)
To this day, I think of this little boy and the imprint he has left in my heart. I think about him more often this time of year and I still put up our lights early, not just because I love Christmas, but also because it's my daily reminder not to get swept up in the holiday hubbub, to cherish the time I have with my friends and family, and to be grateful.
No gift is bigger than the gift of life, so be kind to one another each and every day.
Melissa Ash - mom of 2 energetic boys, wife, and business woman. Just trying to "do it all".