I'm about to let you see right through me.
I'm struggling a bit this Christmas. Before I go further, please let me clarify that I know and embrace the reason for the season...and am blessed way beyond measure. But, as I sit here at almost one o'clock in the morning listening to the howling wind whipping through the trees out back, I can't help but feel a bit melancholy.
For starters, I've missed my Mom a lot more than usual this year. Maybe that has something to do with this feeling. I have tried in numerous ways to channel her and see Christmas through the eyes of the child Katie. I bought the can of "Deluxe Hard Candy" that she had around at Christmastime and I downloaded the entire Beach Boys Christmas album and blared it while I cooked today. She had a way of making this holiday special and I fear I have not done that for my children. I didn't have an orange to put in the toe of the boys' stockings and there's no ceramic Santa or brass angel candle thingy that I put out year after year like Mom did....will I ever be able to make lasting memories for them like she did for me?
Then there's the whole Santa thing with Daniel. Uggg. I feel tears well up in my eyes as I think about him going to sleep for the first time not dreaming of Santa's sleigh making it's way to our house sometime during the night. For the first time since we've been parents, there is no plate of cookies with a note for Santa on the counter. (ok, full fledged tears streaming now...) Daniel knows the truth now and Jacob--at a cranky age 2 when we put him to bed after dinner--is too young to understand the whole cookie/Santa tradition. Could I have somehow kept Daniel believing for another year or two by weaving tales of magic and mystery or did I do the right thing following my instincts and sharing the truth upon his demand and questioning? I'm not sure...but I do know it feels a little strange having one old enough to not believe and one too young to know the difference.
There is one thing I know for sure, though. My family is together. And we are safe and healthy and blessed far beyond what we deserve. There may not be cookies and a note for Santa waiting in the morning...but by dawn's early light there will be two pajama-clad boys clammering to open presents regardless of how they got under the tree.
As parents, we sometimes struggle wondering if we are doing the very best job we can. I am sure my Mom dealt with these same feelings from time to time. And as I sit here in the wee hours of a stormy Christmas morning, I can't help but feel her here with me telling me to take it one day at a time and to cherish every moment I have with my kids.
I think I'll take her advice. Merry Christmas everyone.