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Why we decorate for Christmas before thinking about Thanksgiving

When she’s not playing referee between her five children, she is advocating for children with illness and disabilities to create much needed awareness. You can find her sharing her son’s journey on Facebook or read her latest thoughts by...

How our family decided not to wait until after Thanksgiving to celebrate the joy of Christmas

I hear a scraping noise coming from our back porch, along with chatty, excited little voices. I knew the kids were dragging our plastic bins, the ones that hold our Christmas decorations, through the kitchen.

It is a beautiful 70-degree day in early November, which isn't too common for Michigan. The grass is green, the sky is bright blue and now the Christmas music is blaring from our Pandora Christmas station. This time of year, most families are making their Thanksgiving shopping lists, planning out who is going to be hosting Thanksgiving dinner and finalizing travel plans.

In our home, we are decorating for Christmas.

You're probably thinking, "Oh, she is one of those people."

You're right; I am one of those people.

I never used to be. I was always going strictly by what was considered politically correct in terms of decorating for each holiday season. No getting out the fall and Halloween decorations until Oct. 1, putting away the Halloween decorations on Nov. 1, putting away the fall decorations the day after Thanksgiving and then pulling out the Christmas decorations shortly after — and not a day before — Thanksgiving. The proper etiquette.

I threw away those plans in 2010, the year our fifth child was born. Our son Oakley was born on Sept. 3, 2010, a birthday we thought we would never see.

Oakley was born with an extremely rare and life-threatening syndrome called prune belly, for which there is no cure, only treatment. That treatment includes countless surgeries, procedures, imaging studies, catheterization and a multitude of different medicines. When Oakley was just 12 days old, we were told treatment will eventually include a life-saving kidney transplant at a point in his life.

At a point in his life.

The times I have wished for a crystal ball have never multiplied like they have these past five years. The unknowns and the anxiety keep me up at night as I scour the internet for new treatments or worry if he will get tangled in his tubing while he is sleeping. I worry about him being bullied for being different as he gets older.

As his huge, hazel eyes light up while looking at the sparkling, multi-colored Christmas lights, my heart fills with happiness, because we are home and we are all together. Seeing the excitement on his face as he talks about the first snow on the ground or while he dances to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is so much more meaningful to me.

We decorate for Christmas in early November because we are celebrating our time together as a family.

We will eat our Thanksgiving meal together at the table illuminated by the Christmas tree, and we'll know we still have a whole month ahead of us to make Christmas memories.

Do what makes you happy, regardless of what the calendar says.

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