Deck the halls with empty wrappers…fa la la la la la la la la! Tis the season to be slobs, fa la la la la la la la la. Don we now our fresh, clean laundry, fa la la la la la la la la. Because our mother is an enabler, fa la la la la la la la la…
Aaaahhhh, Christmas…the most wonderful time of the year indeed. I should have been born in the North Pole. Buddy the Elf must be my brother, Clark Griswold has to be my dad and I’m pretty sure I’m somehow related to Cindy Lou Who. My visions of Christmas grandeur begin well before Thanksgiving as I plot and plan exactly what the house will look like as well as what I will wear on which day from my extensive collection of Christmas-related clothing; I begin listening to and watching intently the people whom I love to see what would delight them most to receive and consult the all powerful Amazon Prime to make dreams come true. I plan elaborate get-togethers to gather all our friends and family to partake of the joy that is Christmas, painstakingly planning everything down to the tiniest detail. My expectations are high. The pressure I put on myself is slightly sadistic, but totally worth it when I pull it off and I can sit back and relax. And that’s when it happens. The Post-Christmas Depression.
Christmas evening a swift and merciless flood of sadness enveloped me like a fog as I sat alone amidst the chaotic remnants of the fleeting excitement of the morning, the sounds of giggling and tearing wrapping paper echoing in my ears and nothing to look forward to but cleaning, undecorating and the hollowness of my house, depleted of children. The dog offered little in the way of comfort as she wrestled with her Christmas Llama and then whined to go outside. Christmas evening has taken this form for many years, as my children would leave in the afternoon to spend the remainder of the break with their dad. I would take solace in visiting with, and then after she moved, talking with my mom Christmas evening and telling her about all the things the kids got. She would always tell me how great of a shopper I was, how lucky my kids were to have me as their mom and warn me that I better spend the money she gave me for Christmas on myself, although she knew I never would. This Christmas marked the first I was unable to continue that tradition. I found a tiny Santa hat and placed it on her urn. I’m sure she would appreciate my irreverence.
Sadness never lasts long in my heart these days, however, as I have much to be thankful for and many amazing adventures to look forward to in this new chapter. I bought Addison, newly 21, a Sangria last night, for instance; as I ordered it the earth was spinning like the time Buddy the Elf found out he was human, the realization that my first born is legally old enough to drink competing with the image of her as a toddler asking for juice indelibly etched in my soul. But there I sat with this young woman whom I raised, who has not only survived having me as her mom, but somehow is thriving and of whom I could not be more proud. We came home to a pot of soup made by Ayden so his sister and I could have dinner – the same kid who, when I would ask for one of his Doritos, would break me off a 1cm triangle. Avery’s last year at home is swiftly coming to a close, and it has been such a privilege to watch him grow into the young man who insists on being financially independent (except when he needs a new tire) and who washes and dries his own clothes (folding will happen soon, I can feel it). And then there’s Aubrey, who at age 14 is a model of compassion and obedience, respectful behavior and self-sufficiency. Her room is always clean, she never complains and her tone of voice brings about my full cooperation.
I almost got struck by lightning…
2020 is going to be fabulous, despite the hiccups of adolescence. If the first 3 are any indication, this too shall pass and one day the memories of a house full of children won’t trigger sadness, but instead thankfulness and joy for the privilege of getting to be a mama.
I love this new chapter. I hope this book never ends, even if some of the chapters involve pain and suffering, because the ink with which it is now written is consecrated in divine purpose. Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”