The day after Christmas rolls around…rather predicably…every 365 days or so. This particular morning after Christmas’s grey, wet skies are the perfect backdrop for my teary melancholy as I write this entry.
The tears started yesterday morning, Christmas morning, but no way was I going to spend my once a year, Christmas day, in teary reflection.
You see – I woke up with the sweet gratitude that both my chicks were home for Christmas. Not just home, but the four of us Matthews were all under the same roof, waking up together on December 25…Christmas morning. And then I’m hit with the bitter realization that as time marches on, as it is wont to do, this Christmas would mark one of the last times we would wake up together…to share a cup of coffee before the mad rush of Christmas morning.
Call me a romantic but Christmas morning isn’t about the gifts. In fact, the whole gift-giving through the years has been vexing. Too little, too much? When to disclose the Santa myth? Gift cards or actual present? And all the wrapping. I absolutely despise wrapping gifts.
No, Christmas morning is the apex of all the seasonal anticipation. It’s the staying in pajamas all morning. It’s the “nowhere else I’d rather be” feeling. It’s the almost guarantee that everyone will be jolly and in a good mood. It’s the laughter and delight. It’s the holiday magic. It’s family time.
I love Christmas morning. Just like I’ve loved all of the gifts of motherhood.
Discovering what you love
Remember what it was like to figure out a new job or try to figure out your career or major or whatever it was you’d be doing the rest of your life? When I was a young woman, I discovered accounting. Before the office job where I found accounting, I’d never given it much thought. I wasn’t particularly proficient in math, but I soon learned the magic in accounting. All the numbers in their place and place for all the numbers. And the beauty of balanced books at the end of the day. Utopia. I had found my calling…I knew then that’s how I wanted to make a living. And I loved my job.
And then I had that same feeling when Trevor and Evan came along. It wasn’t so much the early years. I was never a great baby mom – truthfully, I just survived those initial years. But when they hit early elementary I hit my stride. I loved being a mom like I loved accounting. It was like I was designed to be a mom. I loved being the lynchpin of our family. I loved kissing the boo-boos, I loved the afterschool chaos, I loved their sweet voices on the phone, the silly text messages, the trips to the grocery store, the sleepovers, the breakfasts for dinner…but most of all…I loved the four of us together. But now, I also realize, I loved who I was at that time. I was mom. And I loved my job.
A New Chapter
But now I’m in that yucky transition period typical to middle-aged parents all over the world. I’m no longer 24-hour mom but more like phone-a-friend mom. I’ve been
The irony of the tears and melancholy this morning is that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Can you imagine having the creepy 35-year-old living in your basement? I don’t even have a basement, so there’s that. But all kidding aside, a sign of successful parenthood is children that are grown and flown.
Sweet or Salty? Or Both?
I love an excellent piece of chocolate (who am I kidding, I love just about all kinds of chocolate) and am a huge fan of salty chips and queso. But I’m also quite fond of salted caramel – that unique blend of sweet-saltiness is kinda fantastic.
That’s where I am this morning. My heart isn’t broken…but it does ache. There’s this sweetness in watching your grown children do their lives. But it’s mostly sweet because you love them so much. The salt is the nostalgia. The combination of my great love for my children and our shared time in history is almost too much to bear sometimes…like yesterday morning when the tears made their early morning appearance.
So then…what do we do with ourselves when the job we loved is no longer available to us? No longer appropriate?
Like I said earlier – I certainly don’t want them moving home. The bitter reality is we can’t turn back time. That particular time in history is gone. The job no longer exists.
Go ahead and cry.
I think the most damaging thing I do to myself is to berate myself for crying. Or refuse to cry because it’s inconvenient. But the day after Christmas…this grey, rainy, cold, day after Christmas is a perfect crying kind of day.
And mourn. It’s sad when a job you loved is no longer available.
And stop wishing for a different reality. Surrender is not weakness. It’s acknowledgment.
But also celebrate. Celebrate the life you have today – because there’s probably a morning in the future that you’ll look back on today with fondness, remembrance, sweetness, and a touch of nostalgia. Because you lived it.
There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.
– Louis L’Amour
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