Sitting here reflecting on another one of those very messy mixture holidays, the ones that remind us to love life when its light and fun and to feel it when it is not. In the mixture is happy then sad, then missing then full… a bit of tears and a pile of laughs. There are thoughts about what I am not getting to see and hear and do with 3 crazy ladies growing. There are memories of holidays spent in our old normal… dinner with my whole family, Christmas Eve nights spent travelling from Nana’s to Matthew’s family. Singing silly songs and seeing his aunts and uncles… hearing old stories about a person that I don’t know anymore. There are happy memories of hearing the girls come to wake me up, trying not to peek like I told them. Remembering sitting around my parents living room with my dad being Santa and distributing gifts, looking at the same present to Aunt Jane from Molly over and over (In his defense it is hard to read Molly’s writing)… knowing that each of the grandkids were hoping for no clothes (except Amelia…). Christmas was so different then. I love those memories and feelings they bring forward for me. After there is always sad thinking about what is missing- a 9 ½ year old mature girl that does not kiss One Direction postcards or talk about boys. Sitting here thinking about all that is different and all that is good now, right here in this Christmas. I thought I could never feel good, or ok… feel content in this spot of Madeline not being here to open and laugh and be excited… I thought Christmas would always feel weird and quiet in this divorced life that we have now. It isn’t though… it is pretty full and positive. I am pretty content with a quiet Christmas Eve day, a visit to a friends for an open house and Mass or church somewhere… then my parents come and the house will be loud and loud… and my girls will come home. They will do their fun morning and enjoy the day with my parents and I and any friends looking for a place to hang and eat. I think I bought most of the food I needed, if not I have tons of pickles and we can go all relish tray crazy.
I sit and reflect on many this season… I have an amazing and light friend I met this year and she got married to her soulmate. After her first marriage and 3 beautiful daughters she is happy and light and loved… and she is celebrating this Christmas as her first married and content. I love this. I am thinking of a really amazing friend, that just so happened to be my boss back when I had a job, she lost her mom this week. Her mom was such a kind and content woman, she made some strong and independent girls, the kind I hope to build. I think of Marla and Meredith and I know this Christmas is going to be one they just function through, and maybe next year too. I know they will put that smile on when they can and take pictures of their kiddos and function through. I hurt for them. I think of my sister’s high school friend whose children’s father decided to leave this world this week… I think of all they will go through and how much that must hurt. I think of her and I know she will do her best to function and take care of her lovelies, as we all do. In a week when we celebrate Jesus and life, death is a hard add on. I hurt for those handed that huge heavy load to carry right now… so pray they keep hope and keep chuggin’ there is life and living and contentment coming. It is so hard to feel that it can be better, but it will be. I hurt for them, and I think of them. I think of the parents who are celebrating this holiday with their new babies and their toddlers who are just starting to experience and feel the joy and light in this season and I remember… I remember what that felt like. It was magic, a gift to carry forever. I think of them and I am happy for them. What a mix this season and all of life is… a delicate mix of hot messes and amazing moments, crazy adventures and heavy baggage.
I want us all to see this, in our lives we will be each of these mixes… we will have joyful Christmas’s and days of grieving and loss… we will have happy dinners and broken days of mac and cheese. Life is a mixture of all of these. My hope is that we all enjoy the amazing when it is happening, right at that moment. Amazing is a gift, be there and be present… don’t look forward or behind. In the hard moments and days of no joy only function (or not functioning) pinch a little bit of hope between your fingers, hold it tight and keep chuggin’. Do what you need to do, don’t feel like you have to explain (the good people get it, the annoying ones expect a lot)… hold that tiny pinch of hope and ride on… someday it doesn’t suck the same. Someday that pinch is a little bit like a snowball, then you don’t need to think about hope and energy because it will be a little more normal and a little more content. I know that this very spot that I am in right now looks much different, albeit much better than I could have imagined for this very moment in time.
Music always connects to me, it is like a story when you hear the words. Sometimes that song and story touches your heart and soul at a moment. The past few years this song really connected to my heart… I wished I could skate away from this day and the hard stuff in them. I wished I could skate away from all the pain and missing… this year I don’t feel that connection to this song, maybe I have graduated from skating away. I think it is a product of changes in me, building my girls and know Madeline is right here…
“It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cuttin’ down trees… they’re puttin’ up reindeer, singing songs of joy and peace. Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. I wish I had a river so long I would teach my feet to fly… I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”