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Creating a New "Normal"


Christmas at Fort Wilderness 2011

Holidays are stressful enough with all of the hustle and bustle of putting up decorations, sending out Christmas cards, gift shopping and probably some baking as well. Not to mention planning get togethers for relatives and for many the worry of finances during a time that can be quite costly. Unfortunately for many of us though, the holidays are also a painful reminder of the the loved ones that are no longer with us. This year will be another rough year in our family as we are celebrating the holidays for the first time without my sister, Angie and also without Delaney, our beloved Cocker Spaniel for which our brand is named for.

We went through this just 3 years ago when we lost my mom, Sandy, in March of 2015 to pancreatic cancer. That first Christmas without her was rough but we continued on as family following the same traditions we had for years. That Christmas was rough but this one will be our most difficult Christmas yet. As much as I have tried to keep things the same, I have finally realized that it will never be the same. It's now up to us to now create a new sense of normal for what is left of our family as we go forward.


This will be our 22nd consecutive Christmas in Florida for the McCormick/Harpenau Family. We started this tradition way back in 1997 and over the years have so many amazing memories of Christmas at Disney World and Central Florida. These memories include everything from dreadful the year we all had food poisoning to the most magical the year my Grandma Dorothy joined us in Florida after my Grandpa Frank passed away. I remember I set up to take my Grandma to Christmas morning non denominational church service at Disney's Contemporary Resort. She loved going to church and hated the thought of missing service while on vacation. It made her day when I announced after opening gifts that we had to hurry in order to make it to the service on time. These types of memories are subtle reminders of how great my life has been and I never want to lose those precious thoughts.


We can't recreate what we had, we can only cherish it and try to move on with life and create that new normal. The best advice I can give this holiday season is to value every minute because someday, today will be the good old days.





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