Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

So what profound thoughts does a blogger post for the holidays? I've been traveling a ton since the last post--to Connecticut for Thanksgiving and to have coffee with a SIL, to Charlotte with Husbeast--then back home to attempt completion of a research project which I'm writing for publication, to cook a second Thanksgiving dinner for family here, to prepare for Christmas. And I've avoided writing a post because.....what the heck do I talk about?

And it hit me this morning, after a long conversation with my brother last night. I have always wanted to be part of a Father-Knows-Best, Waltons-on-the-mountain kind of family, but we all know those families are mostly screenwriters imaginings. Real families have warts, sometimes more warts than beauty marks. Mine is one of those, and my brother and I were discussing all the warts and cancers (literal and figurative) in our large family. You see, he has tried all his life to remain neutral in family squabbles because, let's face it, no one normal really enjoys angry confrontation. But in his attempt to remain neutral, he missed out on all the good stuff. Yep, he stayed out of the fight between Brother #1, myself and Brother #3. He stayed out of the fight to the extent that he wouldn't talk to any of us about subjects outside of the weather and how our kids were doing--he didn't want any details at all. And he missed our kids' graduations, Eagle Scout celebrations, the celebration of the last cancer treatments of a SIL and myself, the going away party for our son, the details of our sons' treks up Machu Picchu, a nieces long haul to graduation and certification, the wonderful details of Brothers #2 and #3 lives (he was at their funerals but he totally missed being part of their lives). In short, by trying to pretend there were no bad parts of our family, he missed all the good parts.

I realized over coffee this morning (isn't caffeine wonderful?) that although I haven't lived the ideal life I wanted, with 4 kids, a picket fence and worshipful husband and no family confrontations or squabbles, I HAVE had:
  • 2 kids who challenge me and puzzle me and make me laugh and do silly things.
  • a husband who screws up on a semi-regular basis but worships me (while I am of course perfect and never screw up)
  • a beautiful 103-year old house that I adore
  • a nice patch of garden where I can get my hands dirty, work hard and enjoy the magic of eating something that was a seed in my hand last year
  • a yard full of wildlife that I love to watch (now that I've fenced and electrified everything that I don't want them to eat)
  • the wherewithal to buy food, good food, for ourselves and the wildlife and to share the garden overage with ...
  • good neighbors who watch out for each other and notice when ambulances are summoned or children are walking the new puppy
So, my message to myself this Christmas is not to regret what I haven't gotten, those missed dreams I mourn. Instead I will put peanuts out for the birds and squirrels (why is the nuthatch always the first to notice them?), celebrate my fantabulous Christmas lights, bake gingerbread men for my adult sons, drink wine and play board games with the family on Thursday and laugh. A lot. Because my life is good, despite all the bumps and family dramas and crazy family members who (rightfully) I avoid.

Have a wonder holiday, whichever one you celebrate, and enjoy the fact that after today the light is coming back to our lives.


RMK said...

Just came back tonight from the funeral of a 58 year old man that I was working with at this time last year ... sudden as a result of an infection attacking his heart. Your post is a timely one!

'Kolai said...

Happy Holidays to you, too!!