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The colorful lights wound through the boughs sparkle as brightly as they did last year, and the one before…  Ornaments dangle haphazardly throughout, reflecting their glow, illuminating the dark spaces behind them…  I’m torn between the urge to yank everything off and hurl it into the yard, or to sit here and contemplate the shadows lit up by halos of green, red and gold…

The hastily wrapped packages revealed their secrets at last, though the content hardly mattered to us at all…  Beth and Grace shared Brian’s traditional role, parceling out gifts in rapid succession.  We took turns, alternately ripping through the pretty paper, doggedly trying to muster a genuine smile in the absence of Brian’s goofy grin and running commentary…  Only because of Beth’s extraordinary effort did Christmas morning slightly resemble any of the past…  

My sister Betsy bravely hunkered down with us for another holiday...  Thankfully, she assumed all Christmas dinner preparation duties, as I couldn’t do it; I wore myself out baking cookies earlier this week, laughing and crying my way through half of my usual repertoire before giving in and giving up.  I kept thinking of the times I ran Brian out of the kitchen in frustration; he would wolf down a half dozen warm cookies while begging for raw dough, leaving trails of crumbs and clumps in his wake.  He would yell ‘I love you’ over his shoulder as he dashed from the room, chuckling at my annoyance as he went on his merry way…  

It’s so hard to let go of the way things were…and equally difficult to try to maintain them…as if it were even possible.  A never ending battle of comforting memories against torturous change; how do you say goodbye to yesterday when in doing so, it feels like you are casting aside your precious child?  It will never be the same; no matter what we do, it hurts…  

At least it is done; it was emotional…different…hollow…lacking…but blessedly behind us now. Somehow, we made it through.  I’m conflicted; I feel relief and a great deal of guilt…  

Our house is unusually still; I’m soaking up the silence like a sponge.  I didn’t realize how I was craving time at home alone; space to think, process and absorb all that has transpired recently…  The only sound is Silly roaming about, investigating each room, searching for his afternoon napping spot; maybe I’ll go curl up with him, following his good example to rest for a minute or two…

Wishing you sunshine and hope…tg

Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays.  -- Jen, site administrator  

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