This is our third Christmas since my husband’s sudden death in 2016.
The preceding holidays have been difficult needless to say.
Now, almost one thousand days later peaceful is the best way to describe this season.
The last several weeks have been busy and full. From spending time in Portland, many parties and dinners to having family time with my two daughters and our Australian house guest Austin.
For a long time, I would feel guilty if I felt happy. It’s normal to have survivor’s guilt in these situations, however, there comes a point in time when there is simply diminishing returns to sadness.
It feels good to be myself again. Calm, confident, peaceful and happy. I remember wondering if I would ever feel this way again. It took a while, but I’ve earned it and I deserve it.
I’ve enjoyed spending time with my teenage children and their friends. I find them fascinating in their modern opinions and point of view. They’re ecstatically hopeful and fully present for life. They keep me young, optimistic and hopeful.
We’ve stayed up late telling funny stories about what really happened in grade school. It’s entertaining to hear what the kids thought as we raised them. They can recount a dinner party from ten years ago with astounding clarity.
I always knew my presence in the lives of so many children was worthwhile, but it was nice to hear from them that I personally made a difference in their lives.
As I look back on my years as a room mom, a soccer coach, a reading tutor and a mom who could never say no to bringing a gangle of kids home after school to swim and play I can see now how important and meaningful this work truly was.
At the time it felt like nothing more than controlled chaos. Yet, beneath the surface of screaming children, and petty arguments and countless popsicles and ice cream sandwiches lay a deeper meaning to these days. We all simply wish to connect. Our time together means something as we share each other’s memories.
Over the holiday a few of my Children’s friends told me how much they cherished the time they spent with me and my family. They told me how much they loved coming to our house and spending time here. They used words like sanctuary and refuge.
My home has been full of kids and laughter for weeks now. Of course, this is accompanied by the usual amount of chaos. Kids come in and go out again. We hosted a few small gatherings that I will never forget for the pure happiness and joy I could feel around me.
When I moved to Moraga almost twenty years ago I became involved in the Lamorinda Moms Club, Moraga Junior League, and later National Charity League. Through these organizations and our neighborhood schools I met countless children. I knew then that I could never leave Moraga until I saw them all grow up. Committed and invested I wanted to see what these little ones would make of their lives.
I have to say there have been few surprises. The sweet ones are still sweet, the bossy ones are still bossy, but they have all collectively turned into amazing people with worthy goals and dreams.
We never know what life has in store for us, maybe the best we can ever hope for is controlled chaos.
Love and blessings to all.