Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Quiet

Last year's handmade card from my girl and boy

Wednesday night before Christmas. Just returned home from a long workday to a hauntingly quiet house. I can almost hear the crickets chirping. The kids left for their dad's today and won't be home till 2:00 Christmas day. It's been six years since their dad and I separated, and this year he got prime Christmas time (we alternate) — Eve and morning. After six years you'd think I'd be used to this. But there's the tree — lovingly decorated with traditional German ornaments and little gems created by the kids over the years. The table's decked out with red runner and candles nestled in advent wreath. Pine tree clippings decoratively scattered about the house and homemade cookies from last weekend's cookie decorating party ready and waiting. The proverbial Christmas lights are on, and no one's home.

Fact is, if the kids were here, I don't know if I'd be getting much warm and fuzzy from them anyway, due to the fact that they're teenagers and just a little too cool for all the kid stuff. Our Christmas traditions are fun, but my girl and boy no longer approach them with childlike excitement from days of old. We go through the motions and all agree on the cute factor. But I'd give anything to go back to the days when belief in Santa held precedence over anything we did this time of year.

I guess married couples with families also experience this phenomenon. But at least hubby and wife have each other. Dang if it isn't hard to come home to an empty house, kids gone, and no one to talk to. There's nothing on TV and I'm too wiped out to read a book. No one's posting anything good on Facebook. I didn't sign up for this.

My thoughts have hitched a ride on my funk and turn to a pre-Christmas seven years ago. Back then I was under the impression we were a happy family. Hubby and son had been working on a project in the neglected sunroom behind our garage since October — I was informed it was my Christmas present and not to go in there. I honored their request, and on Christmas Eve, my family escorted me — blindfolded — to the room: A carpeted oasis complete with heated jacuzzi spa, framed prints of tropical scenes, potted plants, surround sound stereo, lit candles, new slippers and a fuzzy robe hanging in the corner — the best present I'd ever received. If this isn't proof your husband loves you, I don't know what is. Four months later I discovered the horrible truth. I've been a single mom — God I hate that term — ever since.

I hardly ever go back to that day in my life — and the disastrous year that followed. Things are so much better now. And this Christmas I can celebrate the fact that because of all that's happened, I've made room for good things in my life. Like wonderful friends, old and new, who have been loving and consistent beyond belief; a good man who loves and appreciates me for exactly who I am; a deep and complete connection with my creator; and a renewed appreciation for my own worth and talent. Best of all, these two amazing children who I love more than life itself, and who should be here with me tonight drinking eggnog and laughing at my lame jokes. God willing, this will come to pass in 2 1/2 days, although I can't guarantee the laughing at my jokes part. They're a tough audience lately!

If you have made it this far, thank you for allowing me my forum to lament. I feel a lot better.

Yuletide greetings, all. Look around, the gifts abound.

Back of card. I believe the formula's correct, but have never actually checked my son's math to verify this.
Why would I?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Third Advent

Today, Third Advent, my heart is full of warmth and gratitude.

The lovely choral rendition is by the San Francisco Girl's Chorus.