Hope During the Holidays (Jax Takes His First Steps)

Truthfully, the holidays aren’t as bright as they used to be.

I used to look forward to this time of year. For many years, the only time I could catch a flight home was during the holidays – I looked forward to that time for months. The anticipation and excitement of seeing family and friends put a bounce in my step and cheer in my heart.

Every year, I put up my Christmas tree and lovingly unpacked each and every ornament that my mom had given me throughout the years. I would sit peacefully for hours (drinking holiday drinks, of course) and stare at the beautiful lights and decorations remembering the stories and adventures behind the ornaments. It always put a smile on my face.

This year was different. I put up my Christmas tree with a heavy heart. I did it because I thought I would feel worse if I didn’t. When I unpacked the ornaments, I barely looked at them because I didn’t think I could handle the flood of memories that would accompany each one. Half of them are still in the box. 

I miss my mom. Steve misses his dad.

We’ve been struggling to find balance. With each other. With raising Jax. With the isolation of RSV lockdown. With the grief of losing our parents. With the guilt and fear that comes with raising a micropreemie.


But, you guys, there is one star in our life that is shining so brightly now, we can barely see past him. This little boy makes us smile and laugh every day with his non-stop “talking,” singing, and learning. He is teaching us, even in the midst of grief, how to keep our hearts filled with hope.

And here’s why: on December 19, 2013, jut one week shy of his 17-month birthday, Jax took his first steps!

Cheers to hope this holiday season!

Author: Andrea M

Oh man, what an adventure! I went into labor unexpectedly when I was 23w3d pregnant. Jaxson was born weighing 1 lb 8 oz. A tiny little peanut, but boy was he feisty. He still is! We love it now, but we probably won't when he is a teenager. I write about our journey and all other things that come with it, including a brain tumor. We look forward to "meeting" you - come hang out with us...we're pretty cool.

14 thoughts on “Hope During the Holidays (Jax Takes His First Steps)”

  1. That is so cool. Couldn’t be happier. I know what you mean about missing our loved ones. I don’t have any little ones around the home but I care for my sister Jeri’s special needs daughter and that too always puts a smile on my face. She has grown so much and her mind has been so active. It is almost like having Jeri around. There is a reason for the season but we just had to look past our sorrow. CONGRATS BABY JAX! The world loves you and so do we!


    1. I think Ashleigh was the closest guess in Jax’s walking date! 🙂 I did not know that you had lost your sister. It’s amazing what you are doing to help Ashleigh grow into an amazing woman. I’m sure Jeri would be proud of all you both have done. Merry Christmas!


  2. Jax is definitely a star! He totally beat Xander in the walking dept! (I Know don’t compare but sometimes it’s fun 🙂 ) These bright stars definitely help keep us looking in the right direction. And keep writing! Sometimes when I’m over emotional I write posts that will forever stay in draft form but it helps to try and get it out.


    1. It is fun to compare sometimes! 🙂 It’s so fun watching them learn and grow. Jody – I can tell you’ve been writing. I’ve really enjoyed your last couple of posts! Keep it up!


  3. So exciting yeah Jax! Andrea, i can completely relate to you feelings this Christmas. With this being the first Christmas without my dad and also as a single mom. I too put the Christmas decorations up reluctantly but did so for the kids. I have to share the kids with my ex every Christmas now. This year it is Christmas eve and I miss them already. My Dad’s absence is heavy on heart every single day. I wish I had words of encouragement for you but I too am just wading through hoping to get to the other side in one piece. Hopefully having somebody “partially know” what you are feeling helps just a little. Merry Christmas to your beautiful family.


    1. After my mom died, we intentionally did things differently during the holidays. We used it as a way to create new traditions. It was so, so hard! But now, almost 5 years later, the new traditions are becoming a lot of fun! I’m sorry you’re struggling this Christmas and missing your dad. I’ll be sending thoughts of peace and healing to help you get through. ❤


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