As I sit in my kitchen listening to Chistmass music wafting across the room, I feel like I have been here before. The difference being that when I was here last, I was a child, and in this moment I am a mom. Oddly, I don’t feel like myself at all. That isn’t exactly true. I feel like myself inside of my mom’s body, seeing this Christmas through what I believe, to be her eyes. As I sit in my bathrobe, drinking my coffee, listening to my kids conversations on their first morning off of school, I am perplexed by my own emotions.
There is that ever present joy. That’s the emotion beneath it all. It is unshakeable. It is the constant that keeps me on board when the daily waves of life try to sink my ship. It is sometimes hard to be in touch with because life is…..well….life. Far more tangible in these moments are worry and fear. Trying so hard, with very limited funds, to get just the right things under the tree. Perhaps the reason for Santa’s rotund belly is the cortisol building up from all the stress of wanting to keep the magic alive even if #3 wants a skateboarding remote control dog that is way too big for your tiny house not to mention the hefty price tag. It goes against everything that my practacle brain can muster. Santa generally gets it wrong with number three and her struggle to believe is palpable this year. Is it worth $60 to keep her believing for one more year. Did my mom/ Santa ever make a decision to throw caution to the wind. Did she struggle counting gifts, to make sure that no one looked like Santa’s favorite. I think I was in someways, my mom’s #3. I must tell you, on her behalf, that #3 made a beautiful ornament, all on her own, that she hung on the tree with a simple note that says, “Santa please take”. She also begrudgingly sat on Santa’s lap ( she is still a little scared) smiled for the picture and asked for one thing…..you got it …a remote control skateboarding dog. She has no idea how much it costs.
This is only one of the Christmas thoughts I am grappling with. I have three more kids. My mom had eight more. I know that there must have been Christmases that were harder than others and that like me, she must have had to rely on the generosity of others. It weighs heavy on my heart, the gratitude that runs so deep and the yearning to, just once, be the kind stranger, who is able to save someone’s christmas. I want so much for my kids to get that it isn’t about the stuff but not at their expense. I will do my best the rest of the year and then leave it to God.
This years Christmas carries with it a very heavy weight that I’m not sure my mom ever dealt with. It violently snaps me back into my own body. As I have a bubbly six year old boy who has thrown himself headlong into the joy and anticipation of Santa’s arrival. I can’t shake the image of wrapped gifts sitting in closets waiting to be put under the tree but never to be opened. Other six year old boys and girls who will not be there on Christmas this year. My heart literally aches in my chest. I now believe that it is possible to die of a broken heart. Never have I been so aware of every word I say to my own children, or what they say to each other. I want to breathe peace that reaches beyond all borders. I want to breathe comfort that has no limitations of time and space. Let peace begin with me. That’s what I want for Christmas.
Number three is currently reading “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” aloud. My heart is so full it aches……wish you were here.