There is something about being up at 2:00 AM that makes me productive. I'm not sure if it's the effort to distract myself from the thoughts that woke me up that early or just the fact that the house is quiet...but, there you have it. At 2 AM, I can get a good bit done. Emails, laundry, blog posts...
So with the passing of Halloween and Thanksgiving - and a short break before Christmas - I have just enough time to pass along what's going on here.
I planned a school Halloween party! I know, that's not where you expected me to start. Is it? But, I did. I planned the food, the game, and the craft. Drum roll, please. We made SLIME. One parent called me brave, another said what fun that was, and still another spent the entire party trying to fix everything she perceived as wrong. It was exhausting. I think I spent at least a week recovering, even though I still managed a few posts.
After the first two weeks of November the Holiday Madness sets in for me, though. And I began to feel that shortness of time and money and maybe sanity. However, my madness is less about busyness and a surfeit of holiday invitations, and more a general and sometimes almost debilitating anxiety.
You see, I don't really remember most of the last few holiday seasons. I see the pictures. I know they happened...I just don't really connect with them.
In 2009, on December 14, I had Kasey. My little girl, born still, just ten days before Christmas. Then, on December 17, we buried her. I wore wind pants from the sports store because I couldn't bear to wear my maternity clothes, and having given birth only three days ago...well, let's just say the skinny jeans weren't happening. On the grayest day that I remember, in the loneliest place, we laid our daughter to rest. And all I really remember is spending that Christmas in my father's rocking chair, crocheting. I didn't really see anyone, not even my own children.
The next year was a trial of endurance. Could I survive this holiday? Could I smile and laugh, and make it special for my children when I hurt so much? What about the children who should be with us?
Well, we all know what happened in 2011, don't we? Not only did we lose our son Isaac on December 8, but the day we came home from the hospital...we found out that we didn't have a job either. I know some of you understand. Contemplating Christmas on top of two crippling blows was a tricky proposition. And all I really remember from that holiday? Trying so hard to make sure that my girls had something semi-normal.
So, the holidays have been hard. There's so much more to it than what I have the time or space for right here and now...but, they are like physical blows sometimes. I'm left clutching my gut, the air having been punched from my lungs. There is all the pain and sorrow that have surrounded our holidays - and then there's the guilt and need to not let that be how my children forever perceive what should be (and is) a joyous time.
Our Thanksgiving was special, with Turkey plates (courtesy of Dancer) and fall harvest napkins (Diva). We ate well, we played together, and we relaxed - we got to be together and that's truly special.
Now our Christmas tree is up! The only thing beneath it is a gift for Dancer and Diva from their great-grandmother, who apparently must Christmas shop in October (for goodness sake!). But, I'm sure that as December marches on, packages both big and small will fill up that space. Mostly for them, I'm sure. We'll bake cookies for Santa and I'll supervise Dancer making another batch of Cranberry Sauce. We will go to church and remember the birth of Christ...and pray for our own miracle.
I guess that we'll do what everyone else does - take the joy where we can. And I will do what I can to stay present and aware, to not lose another precious memory.