Dear Mom,

I’m sorry for not saying thank you for all the Christmases you gave me back when I had no idea what is was like to be a mom at Christmastime.

You spent your time, energy, and patience making the season sparkle and shine—not for you, but for your kids. And I imagine that although it took a lot of work, that’s what made it shine for you—your kids. Our excitement. Anticipation. Joy. The smiles on our faces. And maybe, just maybe, it was the time spent together, too.

There might not have always been a lot of money to spend, but you always spent yourself making Christmas feel special.

I didn’t appreciate it then like I do now.

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As I haul up boxes and totes full of ornaments, decorations, and tangled strings of lights.

As I unpack old memories from my childhood while making new ones with my own kids.

As I guide them through ornament hanging and recipe reading and giving over receiving.

As I vacuum up pine needles and arrange the nativity and hang stockings.

As I do ALL the shopping and wrapping and hiding of gifts.

As I make grocery lists, and meal plans, and put together a smorgasbord of treats.

As I sigh when the kids’ Christmas lists get longer and longer, when they ask for more and more.

As I try, really try, to help them understand the true meaning of Christmas.

As I run errands and work out the details and repeatedly answer questions like “is it Christmas yet?” and “please, please, please can we open just one present early?” and “how much longer?”

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As I do the things that you did, but admittedly not always with the same joy you seemed to have, I appreciate it. I appreciate YOU.

You might not have done it all, but you did everything that mattered—and more.

I’m sorry it took me so long to realize it.

Even though I might not have said it, it all mattered so much to me, and it was more than enough.

Thank you, mom, for all the Christmases you gave me.

As I give Christmas to my own kids, I’ll carry the memories and your magic with me forever.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

PS – Everything you do as a mom at Christmastime? It’s probably because your mom made Christmas magical for you first.

Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers is a wife, mother, and writer.  She is the author of Courageously Expecting, a book that empathizes with and empowers women who are pregnant after loss. You can find Jenny on her blog, where she writes about pregnancy loss, motherhood, and faith. She never pretends to know it all, but rather seeks to encourage others with real (and not always pretty) stories of the hard, heart, and humorous parts of life. She's a work in progress, and while never all-knowing, she's (by the grace of God) always growing. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.