I usually find these editor’s letters pretty easy to write — I have so many stories about my kids, or stories from my own childhood, that I can quickly find an anecdote for any season or message. I actually love sharing my memories with readers, and I look forward to penning (typing?) these notes with every issue. The holiday season is an especially easy one, because I come from a family that is over-the-moon for Christmas. (My mom and dad have six gorgeous Christmas trees — no joke.)

But this one, this year, is a little different. Because it comes at the end of a trying year in my life. In November 2018, my partner of 14 years and I decided to separate. We have two little girls, and we have spent the past 12 months figuring out how life looks now. It’s not an easy transition, as anyone who has been down this road knows, and there were times I felt like I was up to my neck in quicksand. It was, and still is, hard and sad and scary, for both the girls’ dad and me. I couldn’t even write about it, which is a weird thing for me — I write to process — because it was just too much, too difficult.

Here’s the good news, though: I feel like we’re hitting a groove. In co-parenting, in scheduling, in learning to live our lives on our own. And it comes at my very favourite time of year — a season of hope, and of counting my blessings — and, more tangibly, of a new home. I’m sitting in my brand new, mostly empty apartment as I write this (the movers don’t come for two more weeks!) and my heart is so very full. It’s a fresh start, a marker in time of this new chapter, and a place to create new memories. It is, dear readers, a light at the end of the very long, very lonely 2019 tunnel.

With this in mind, I have been thinking about what traditions I can start with my girls, Sophie and Juliette, this year, and I keep coming back to one from when I was a kid: The Christmas Eve picture. Every year, my mom and dad lined up my brother, me and my two sisters in front of the fireplace to snap a picture for the memory books. It just became a part of the fabric, a thing we had to do. But looking back now, it is the most remarkable thing, to note the passing of time, the growth of kids, a culmination of love. We do a second one now — an expansion on the four originals — that includes partners, babies and kids. It is one of my favourite moments, every single year.

So this Christmas, I’ve decided to start the same tradition with my girls. To pause and have them sit together, to remember what they look like right now, in 2019. Because maybe someday, 20 or 30 or 40 years from now, they’ll need to look back and remember how they felt, and how much they are loved. Because, for me, it is that love that has sustained me.

Merry everything, friends. Wishing you all the joy in the world for 2020.