The holidays are finally over; I can only say I am grateful. I found myself tearful, often. In fact, more often than not, I found myself stepping out of the room so I could have a good cry. How badly does that simply suck? I wrote a different post for today, I decided I would post it tomorrow, today are my holiday stories.
Small stories of things that didn’t suck. Stories proving the world will continue to spin and I won’t fall off, there are good people in it.
My favorite store in the entire world (other than DSW and Neiman Marcus Outlet) is Central Market. I drive nearly twenty miles out of my way to shop at Central Market because it makes me happy. This day solidified my love forever. It was the day after DB took flight and I was feeling battered, barely hanging by my fingernails and certainly not up for pleasant banter. I wanted fresh flowers to brighten my dismal mood and my dull table. Wandering aimlessly, I picked from the individual bins when a woman slightly younger than me asked if she could assist, apparently she didn’t notice the storm cloud over my head. She persisted though, silly girl, asking again if she could help and suddenly out of my mouth came the stupidest thing, “No, you can’t help me. My husband of fourteen years left yesterday without a word, without good-bye or fuck you and all I want is some stupid flowers because nobody else will ever buy them for me again!” I stared at her dumbfounded by my inability to act in a socially acceptable manner; she stared at me likely for the same reason, really who does that? I found myself crying in front of a perfect stranger in the middle of Central Market. With compassion and kindness, Maryam squeezed my arm, helped me make a beautiful bouquet and talked to me. When I was done, when I made my way to the checkout stand with my groceries and my flowers she walked over and told the checker, “The flowers are on Central Market today”.
So I cried twice. I hugged her for her kindness and reminding me there are lovely and compassionate people in the world. Two days later I wrote a letter to Central Market telling them how much her gesture, her kindness and her empathy meant to me. Yesterday, I saw her again and told her in person while we made another beautiful bouquet.
Other things that don’t suck, my children and their partners, my Wife-in-Law, my grandchildren and the family of my daughter-in-law all of whom made this holiday season bearable and sometimes even joyful. Friends who have reached out to me throughout this season with short notes and telephone calls, just to check in and see if I was okay, friends here in my virtual world leaving me their e-mail address and talking to me, letting me know I wasn’t as alone as I felt. You all just can’t imagine how much that means; when I see your notes, my spirit is lifted.
Another story from the holiday season, because family stories are important. I spent Christmas Eve and morning at the home of youngest son and his marvelous partner, they are truly perfectly matched, the love that fills their home, between them and her children is addictive. My wife-in-law was also visiting from Seattle (I adore her) and so Christmas was a happy time, despite the bittersweet undertones; she
is going through her own challenge with her marriage also falling apart around her head, her husband notifying her on the very same day as mine of his intention to end their 30 year partnership (assclown). Needless to say, she and I were challenged in our joy, but she and I were with the sons we loved, were also with each other and oddly, both take great pleasure in our company. So between Moscow Mules, a perfect Mexican feast cooked by our children, watching our grandson open presents and planning for a future without our husbands there was laughter to be had. I suggested my much-loved WIF come live with me; I find I have a significant amount of room now. For some reason our sons find this idea ‘strange’, their mothers living together; she and I laughed uproariously at their discomfort!
Christmas morning found me awake long before the rest of the household, the first pot of coffee long gone before anyone else stumbled out of bed. Wrapped in flannel and love, awaiting the arrival of two little girls and one more round of gift-wrap madness we spent our morning quietly chatting over a superlative breakfast cooked by my son (who knew).
Christmas day found the WIF and me at the home of my eldest sons in-laws; this is something of a tradition for the big holidays. I am so grateful for the invitation and how I have been embraced by this large and loving family, it is a gift. Theirs is a blended family that has blurred the lines by love, it is spectacular to witness and each time I am invited to their home I am awestruck by the immensity of their love, compassion, humor and this time their empathy. It never surprises me why my son loves his wife; she comes from a family that understands commitment and love. It never surprises me why I use to tell him he needed to marry her or I was keeping her when I see her with her family.
This time though, well it was a bit overwhelming and I was brought to tears. This, this was what I had wanted for myself. This love, this commitment; this is what I wanted for me. This is what I failed to build and this failure tore at my heart. At one point during the celebrations I found myself walking outside simply to cry, just a moment of pure alone tears but it wasn’t to be because these are kind and loving people. One of them saw me walking away and followed, without a word just followed and with a touch; a simple hug let me know I wasn’t alone, then with a bit of humor pulled me out of my black cloud and back into the loving embrace of family. I am so grateful to her for her empathy.
So those are my Christmas stories 2013.