I stepped away from my writing for a while. To be more accurate, I stepped away from trying to make sense of my thoughts. My aging mother is ill and my beautiful 2 year old son is thriving. It only makes sense (in my senseless reality) that it be Christmas time. The time of year that proves to be, both the most wonderful time of the year for some, and the hardest for so many others. For me, this year, it seems I am in between; stuck somewhere in the middle of joy and pain.
I have decorated the house. I have wrapped almost every gift in coordinating paper, ribbons and tags. I have fresh evergreens in every available vase. I even made a traditional German cookie house like I used to make with my Mother each Christmas. Our tree is a true sight of beauty, filled with memories for both me and my husband. We are like kids ourselves picking gifts for Santa to bring little O. We teach him Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and delight in his toddler versions. Seeing Christmas through his little eyes is the closest thing to magic and it is wonderful.
In another part of my mind, there are lists of things that need to be done for my mother’s care. There is worry about her safety and that of my father’s, as well. There is guilt that I live four hours away. There is a sadness I have never known. I miss her so much. There is also a fear of what is yet to come. Will I be strong enough? Will I come out the other side intact? Will the hole that is growing in my heart ever mend?
How can I exist in this dichotomy of circumstances and feelings? I have often thought about how having my son so late in the game means O having grandparents who are much older. They aren’t who they were 10 years ago, let alone 20 years ago when most women my age were having children. I am so grateful that he knows them and has a relationship with them, but I don’t know he will remember them as I know them. By the time he is able to, it is possible my mother won’t even know him. I suppose it is pointless to obsess or worry about scenarios I have no control over. But the sadness in it stays with me.
Perhaps it is true that God only gives you what you can handle. Maybe he knew, in his Divine providence, that I would need the joyful focus of raising a child to keep me sane while my mother slowly slips away. I don’t know. But it makes a lot of sense to me. Funny, right about now, the only thing that truly makes sense other than my little nucleus family, is God. Who’d a thunk? I guess it all began with a child, so of course, it makes sense a child could get me through the tough stuff. With that I say Merry Christmas, my friends. I wish you much joy this season, and always.
Remember, behind every great kid, is a mother who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. She might also be depending on the magic of Christmas more than you know. Thanks for reading. Xo