It has been a little over a week since I blogged. And I’m afraid this little blurb will not be the beginning of one so to speak. I simply am reminding myself that I need to blog. I need to write down all the little details about Christmas before they escape me. All of the fun we had Christmas Eve at the Bissegars. The fun Christmas morning and the wonderful gifts from some former strangers. The weekend of nothingness. A talk on Sunday and getting my son back. Our family Christmas party (complete with gangsta rap and beatnik poetry reading) on Monday and the discovery that I have Raynaud’s syndrome. And then a trip to mom and dad’s, which is where I am now. Getting ready to go to see "Avatar" in 3D with my baby brother. Its all good :)
Monday, December 21, 2009
So the last few days have been…interesting… for me. The last few Christmases have been good ones. The first Christmas after Dave died was hard; the firsts in the year that follows the death always are. But it got easier from there, and the past 2 Christmases I haven’t minded one bit being alone with my children at Christmas. I didn’t need extra people around to fill in the emptiness, and I was glad for that feeling. It made the holiday much more bearable.
But this year has been different. I have felt the emptiness more acutely over the past few days. And it’s an emptiness I’ve become somewhat unfamiliar with recently, and so it disturbs me a little. Let me see if I can explain. It’s been quite some time since I felt our family was missing something. I mean, we always keep in mind that we would like to include someone in the everyday joy we share (somewhat tongue in cheek…but there are moments). But I have tried very hard to not lead my children to believe our family is broken because we are fatherless. We are simply different, and what we have is what we need and it is enough. So at the same time I recognize we are missing a portion of the whole, I also immediately recognize the extraordinary amount of blessings we enjoy.
Which is why this is disturbing, because it’s a strange mixture. I have felt, most sharply, both the gratitude and peace that comes with contentment of your position in life. We aren’t wealthy, but we have a home and good landlords, we have a car, phones, food…and even cable. I was worried about Christmas coming out alright. But, weeks ago when I was fretting, I had the feeling come over me not to worry about it. So I didn’t. And it has, indeed, been taken care of by good people whose hearts were moved on our behalf. My degree is done, we are all healthy, and my children are active and progressing. I have wonderful family, extraordinary friends, and several jobs I actually like and find fulfilling. We are truly, completely and wholly blessed.
Which is why this other feeling seems like it should be contrary and the twain should cancel each other. But I’m not sure they are opposites. Partly because I can’t define this other feeling. Emptiness partially describes it. But sorrow or hopelessness does not. Let me tell you what I mean.
Last week I looked at my children individually. Really looked. And I saw all of the great things they are becoming. And I thought how their dad would be so proud of them. He would think Maryn was so smart. He would find Conner funny and Ashlyn cute and charming (even when she’s screaming, which is what daddy’s are for I suppose). I find my children to be all of these things. But I don’t have that other person to share that special smile and nod that only parents share when they recognize their children’s growth and look at each other knowingly. My oldest daughter came home from school with a rather serious problem with another student that required me to intervene, which was fine, but it was a serious battle and I had no back up. And her dad would have backed her up completely and without question, and I know this. Or Sunday, when my 3 youngest sang. And I watched their sweet faces, and began to cry because I watched beaming parents grab each other’s hands, and do that knowing smile thing I talked about, and relish in their shared accomplishment. And I had no one to share that moment with…and neither did my children. Or tonight when we were going to the elementary Christmas program, and my daughter comes out all dolled up and comments. “I used to twirl for daddy, and he would always tell me how pretty I was. It’s just not the same now. I know my daddy would think I was beautiful, no matter what anyone else said.” Or when Ashlyn “wrote a letter” to Santa in cursive and “read” it back to me saying, “Dear Santa, You’re the best woman in the whole wide world. I know we’ll like your presents. Have a very Merry Christmas, Love, Ashlyn.” And I practically smiled my cheeks off, and suppressed laughter until my gut hurt…and I smiled alone. Maybe it’s the lack of someone to share with. But I can’t define the feeling or figure out where to put it on the emotion spectrum. Can anyone else?
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The blue stone represents Prayer.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
The clear stone represents repentance.
The invitation to repent is rarely a voice of chastisement but rather a loving appeal to turn around and to “re-turn” toward God. It is the beckoning of a loving Father and His Only Begotten Son to be more than we are, to reach up to a higher way of life, to change, and to feel
the happiness of keeping the commandments. Being disciples of Christ, we rejoice in the blessing of repenting and the joy of being forgiven. They become part of us, shaping the way we think and feel.
The red stone represents Obedience.
Obedience gives us greater control over our lives, greater capacity to come and go, to work and create.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
This morning when I woke up, I rolled over to face my little girl. She had slept with me the night before. She moved around a little bit, and drowsily opened her eyes the smallest bit. With a half- there grin, she raised her hand, forming her little fingers into the “I Love You” sign. I smiled, and whispered I loved her too. Soon, we were joined by Conner, then Maryn and finally Paul. We laughed at how we all had to squish to fit on the bed. But as I giggled and chatted with my kids in the still dim room, I started to think about how I had chosen very consciously, to make each of them part of my life. Sometimes, four seems like a lot. Other moments, like this one, it seems just right. As I looked at each of them, I remembered bits and pieces of the months I carried them inside of me. They were a little easier to control at that point for sure. But I can remember feeling kicks and rolls. Paul had sharp feet (at least that’s what it felt like), Maryn had an affinity for laying sideways, Conner was a bladder bouncer, and Ashlyn liked to kick straight down. I started to get to know them then, and the traits I saw in them before they were born, have translated quite nicely into their living breathing lives. And then I remember the first time I held each of them. I wasn’t the kind of mother who counted fingers and toes…I figured the doctor would have told me if some were missing and even if they were, what’s a few fingers or toes any way as long as the rest of the baby was okay? But I remember falling in love. Four distinct feelings of complete and total adoration coming right up with a heaping side of responsibility.
And then I realize that the past 15 years has been a blur. I haven’t been the type of parent I intended to be when I was 14, but then again those aspirations were a little lofty and, now I realize, totally unrealistic. And it’s okay. It’s a very different process then I thought it was, and differentiation requires flexibility. I think the important thing is that my children are alive, have clothing, and seem to be somewhat normal. Considering their parentage, I see this as an extremely worthy accomplishment on their part. And the beginning of success on mine. A success I anticipated all of my life, but didn’t expect to procure itself in quite the way it has or using the path it ended up taking. But a success by any other name, is still as sweet.
As all of this was whisping around in the early morning nothingness of my mind, they each, one at a time, kissed me, smiled and left.
And then I was alone.
I don’t know how many of you have the privilege of having more than one family. I do. Today I want to introduce you to portions of my branch family. I’ve lived in this area for 12 years now, making it just a few years short of the time spent in Wyoming. I love it here for many reason (not the cold though),some which I may expound on later, but here is one of them. I have been blessed to have as part of my life, people who seem to genuinely care about me. Today, as I looked around our little happy Christmas party at all of the faces which had become so beloved to me, I felt warm feelings of gratitude come over me. I am thankful for all of them, for what they mean to me, and for the love and support they provide for me even when they don’t know they do it on purpose. There’s something about the feeling in our little corner of the world when we meet together. We are spending our Christmas Eve with some of them. And it’s just like family.
Here is my brother in law Kirk, William, Tanner and Al checking out cell phones and ipods. Hey, whatever floats your boat boys.
Today we had our branch Christmas Brunch. It was a brunch and Santa. And lots of visiting. Simple and to the point. Just the way I like it. Santa was helped out today by the (nonmember) step father of one of our friends Rod K. He did a great job and seemed to enjoy it, although he had a little trouble with hair falling in his eyes.
It kind of cracked me up. Maryn is past believing, yet she was the first one up there. I didn't listen in. Hopefully I hit that nail on the the head.