It’s so easy to complain. It’s easy to whine. Sometimes, it’s all too easy to blame someone else, regardless of where the blame really lies – why do we need to find a guilty party? Getting to the root of this problem doesn’t matter for this post. In reality, this happens. We do it. Some of us go out of our way to pin the issue on someone else. Whatever. I’m not squeaky clean in this, either. I get annoyed that my house is cold; at least I have heat and clothes to stay warm. I get frustrated with my hubby if his boat shoes are in my way; I should be grateful for finding my soul mate. I’m dissatisfied with my job; I need to find the joy in my work. I can get annoyed with the girls’ bickering; I must cherish the time I have with them. And so the list goes on and on…
Whatever you celebrate, it’s Christmas Time for me. Whether it’s Kwanza or Hanukkah or even Festivus, the end of the calendar year marks a time of joy. We all walk a little gentler, talk a little softer and lean in a little closer. Families set aside their differences (sometimes) to share a meal and conversation. Friends schedule outings in celebration of days past and a toast to the future. We, as a society, behave more human. Those moments progress in slow motion, clicking by, frame by frame as the soundtrack plays in the background. And, then, just like that – it’s all over, as if it never happened.
I’m getting old. Yup, I said it. I hear the responses already: “Age is just a number”; “you’re only as old as you feel”…please send me your responses and I’ll be sure to add them to my list. I say this a lot. The reality is that I AM getting old – that’s kinda the process. In addition, as I mature as a wife, parent and member of society, my view points change. My teenage beliefs, over time, have blossomed into a position that I believe better supports my children. I now see exactly where my parents were coming from. I guess this is the battle of the ages – never ending and always evolving. I’m screwed.
Yet again, I digress.
So, it’s Christmas Time. My cynical approach to this season starts just before Thanksgiving. I’m disappointed about the focus on the retail madness, but I don’t partake in those activities. It’s not my bag. I take each day as they come, anticipating the asshole driver or the disgruntled shopper. To my surprise, I don’t recall encountering too much of this crap. Overall, we get consumed with the hype that we ignore what really matters. I honestly enjoy shopping for other people. Sure, I’m known to pick up something for myself along the way, but I love finding the ‘perfect’ gift and anxiously awaiting it’s unveiling. With each year, Christmas Magic grows in intensity as the girls get older. The hubbs and I find ways to incorporate Santa and all the magic into the day. They believe. It’s precious.
I believe, too.
Three recent events rekindled my belief in the Magic of Christmas.
1. A local community has rallied around a little girl quickly losing her battle with leukemia. This beautiful girl, Laney, just celebrated her eighth birthday; her family knows that she will not live to celebrate her ninth. Laney’s story has touched so many people that thousands flooded her street to sing Christmas carols, an item on her bucket list. Donations and gifts continue to pour in from friends and strangers alike.
2. Sadly, during a domestic dispute a father murdered his wife in front of their three children. Forever changed, those kids had their innocence stolen. With nothing but the clothes off their back, they moved in with a foster family (no relatives in the US) to start the healing process. A co-worker, who’s son is a friend of one boy, started a monetary collection to help supplement an account set up for the children. In this time of empty wallets, within two days, our department has raised over $2000. Speechless.
3. Story #3 will take more space. This touches me in a way that makes my hands tremble and my heart ache. This story makes me ask ‘Why?’. It’s situations like these that highlight my lack of faith. I don’t understand; I don’t accept; I can’t see the bigger picture.
This past Saturday, my dear friend lost a close friend. I didn’t know her well, as our paths crossed, at most, five times. I did, however, hear a lot about her. This woman, Molly, was a pillar of strength for two little girls and a gentle man. The world lost a woman who put up a hell of a fight for almost two years. After hearing of her initial diagnosis, I broke down in tears. I put myself in her shoes, her husband’s shoes, her children’s shoes. She needed to hold her head high for her babies. She needed to show that there’s no battle too difficult to fight. I can’t imagine all the feelings and pain that ripped through the family, but I know it wasn’t easy. They did find some comfort and lived each day to the fullest. ‘Each day is a blessing’, I heard her husband say a number of times. It’s an unbelievable comment coming from a person staring in the eyes of adversity.
Last Friday, she was admitted to the hospital for what would be the last time. Her body weakened as the days flew off the calendar. The prognosis didn’t seem great, but I observed something magical. I went with my girlfriend on Wednesday to see Molly. Once she was settled in her bed, we walked into her room. She looked better than I expected, but still not good. I grabbed her hand; it was warm. And that’s all. I just held her hand. Without words, she showed me that there is no battle too hard to fight. Later that evening, after dinner, I cried at the table. I cried for Molly, I cried for her husband, but most of all, I cried for her girls. Her little princesses will be forever changed by this milestone – an event happening too early in their lives. I can’t imagine EVER saying good-bye to my babies – watching them walk out the door for the last time. Molly must have been so scared. Right? It hurts me to think about my girls never being able to hug me, snuggle, or hear my voice again. Would my memory fade? Could they close their eyes and see my face?
I do know that Molly must have been one special lady. I understand she was a bit of a planner and left behind a hell of a legacy. Her strength is reflected in the support that her husband and kids continue to receive. A wonderful network of friends, family and even strangers pulled together to offer support. From homemade meals and Christmas gifts to kind words and play dates – people shuffled priorities and rearranged schedules. I still can’t see the bigger picture and I continue to ask ‘Why?’, but my faith in humanity has been restored. Maybe supporting each other and just being ‘human’ IS the bigger picture.
Rest in peace, Molly.