What a strange time of year-when I go through every possible emotion. The main emotion is sadness and melancholy. Sad because Christmas was a most anticipated day when I was a kid. And every year it ended up the same- with my parents fighting and us kids crying. What a sad, sorry legacy.
Melancholy I guess because I now have forty good Christmases first as a wife and then as a mother as a part of my history, yet the kids are all grown up. I cannot hold them in my lap and giggle with them like I used to be able to. I don't get to see the look in their eyes- such wonder when they first walk into the room and see the lit up tree with stacks of toys spilling all over the place. "Santa came" they used to whisper in awe. What priceless moments Nick and I have shared. What memories we made together with our babies as they grew up. And now we just get to see them some of the time. They have busy lives. We have less busy lives. No, I am not sad, just wistful. Wishing it could have lasted a little bit longer.
There is so much about being a child that is magical. And it is such a privilege to be a parent and witness each new discovery. Figuring out how to nurse, then finding your hand for the first time. Crawling and falling on your face. Walking- what joy. Getting on a bike with Mom and Dad running along beside- and then we let you go. You can balance on the bike. You leave us in your dust.
You grow and learn and keep running to new goals and don't look back. And here we are cheering you on. And worrying about you. And wondering about your choices sometimes. And worrying about you in our cells, constantly, unconsciously, as we breath. You are in each breath we take, breathing in, breathing out.
And I wonder if my parents ever felt this way about me and my siblings. And I wonder if their parents ever felt the same way.
And I wonder if my children will ever understand why we had them. How, we would have been a complete couple and family even without having had children. Just as there are people in the world who don't read and don't really know the concept of reading. They live their lives and are as fulfilled or not depending upon what befalls them in their world. But teach one of those people how to read and a whole new person emerges from somewhere deep inside.
Having children and being a mother had been that for me. If I had not been a mother, I would have been able to find happiness and wholeness. I am sure of it. In fact, maybe it would have been easier if I only had to focus on my well being and not that of others. But I chose to invite all of my children into the world and into my life. And in turn, they taught me to read. To see the absolute joy of finding your hands and then your feet, for the first time. And all those other firsts I already wrote about.
I have received so much love that if it were a vaccine I would be the healthiest woman alive. Nursing a baby who looks at you, nipple in mouth, and the baby smiles, nipple still in, with milk dribbling all over me and the baby is absolutely delicious.
Hearing my three year old sing "skin a ma rink-a dink a do I love you" brought tears to my eyes over 20 years ago, and behind that serious, bearded face I still see that little sweetheart with that soft high voice. Ah.
And there's nothing quite like helping your teen to drive. Now try doing it five times with five teens.
And through it all, we keep pouring our hearts and souls into these wonderful people, our children, with the ultimate goal of letting go. Saying "go, fly, spread your wings". We will be here hopefully for a good while yet to come. You are all grown up, but we know that we are still needed, just not in the same ways.
So, Merry Christmas to Courtney, Morgan, Darcy, Austin and Chance. And to Nick, my life partner who has shared this crazy journey with me. You never promised smooth sailing did you?