I've been up since four. So many things that NEED to be done to be ready for Christmas and not nearly enough time. I tried to go back to sleep. I tried to override the to do list.
"Thank you for a cat by my legs and another by my head. Thank you for the memories this room holds safe for me. Thank you for warmth and comfort. Thank you for compassion. Please watch over and bless my family, especially the tiny ones, new to the planet and those whose years have brought them countless joys and sorrows. Thank you for snoring that drives me crazy but reminds me that I'm not alone. Please bless those who are sad, or sick or lonely. Please fill me with your love and light so that every step I take or heart I touch is left with an assurance of that love and light. Help me to know that even though I will never be who I was when Shannon was here, I can be someone that still makes her smile, someone that finds joy in the ordinary and never forgets to be grateful for the little things that make life twinkle and shine. Help me to realize my purpose and place, to really be until I'm through. Thank you for the purr of ceiling fans, the sparkle of Christmas lights, the soft blue glow of Wall Flower Night Lights, the fragrance of fir, Jules' coconut cream sugar cookies, King Cake, shea butter, pink boots, birdseed bells, sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews and fathers and mothers and friends and the million reasons that coax me into climbing out of bed and facing each new day as the gift it is, yet unopened."
When I realized that I was not going to go back to sleep despite my prayers, I made a cup of coffee, Pumpkin Spice with cream, grabbed a blanket and curled up in the recliner to watch the last half of Nights in Rodanthe.
I cried. To know, to see played out in fiction, that love is love regardless of the relationship and when someone you love is beyond reach, the bittersweet sadness is the same, touched that deep tender place where Shannon is ever present and ever missed. The holidays are a time of wonder and togetherness, a time of celebration and exchange. The to do list... the wrapping and cleaning and baking and shopping and decorating and racing in front of the holiday train may be part of the seasonal expectations, but not if the life you cherish is flying by, a blurr of color and frenzy and short tempers and emotional disconnect. Not if you miss what is so very precious and so fragile.
Like so many years before, the coming of a New Year offers the opportunity to look back ... and forward with gratitude and regret, hope and promise and plans... oh the plans !
In April I returned to work ... not the "job" of my dreams, because I'm still not sure what that might be, but the job I knew. I try to imagine as I splice magical threads of glass that carry the light of connection and entertainment, communication and Google, into the homes of people I will never know, who will never know how the magic happens or who might be responsible, that I do have purpose... and income, and that's not bad. But I miss having time. Time to breathe. To write or take walks with my camera, to clean house or tackle clutter, to enjoy the feel of earth between my fingers instead of on my pink boots.
In an effort to rearrange the misplaced priorities, I chose to start this day, this day before Christmas Eve, to breathe and express my gratitude to friends I know and those I don't, for always, despite the illusion of frenzy, being there to gently remind me to breathe.
I wish for all of you a Christmas of shared memories, both past and in the making, of gentle joys and unrestrained compassion, and a New Year of blessings beyond your imaginings.