Christmas is only moments away, or so it seems and I am feeling that pinch of worry. I really do anticipate too much, process in my head too much…well, worry too much. This year I’m behind the gun – no Christmas shopping done yet! Two boys, no gifts and four days until Christmas! What was I thinking??
I think, well, I know what I’m thinking. If I just pretend it isn’t time yet…it won’t be time yet. If I go about my business, work hard, love my kids, and do the dishes…it won’t be here yet. Now I sit at my computer with a vague plan wishing I was finished and ready for the holiday to roll into our lives. In the last several years, I’ve been ready. Even last year when money was tight…like this year…I was ready. This year, I dropped my ball…dropped my expectations of my duties really. I just started working full time again and have been working hard on my master’s degree over the last month. Both tasks are newly added plates to my balancing act, so not surprising that I’d have to let an old plate drop…or at least wobble. At my sixth holiday season since Dave’s death, I’ve really been wondering how it will look, how I will feel, will it be easier??
Maybe I’m just setting myself up. It could go either way…1) I can rush around for gifts, babysitters and last minute essentials and find myself thrown into the spirit or 2) I can rush around for gifts, babysitters and last minute essentials and find myself disappointed that I didn’t find what the boys wanted or am just plain tuckered out by the time Saturday comes. I don’t know how it will turn out, but I am hopeful that it will be the first not the latter!
Now, I know this sounds silly, but there is one thing that is different this year. My oven is broken. I have a beautiful, big oven. With this beautiful, bigger oven comes a beautiful, bigger ignitor…which broke. My oven can’t keep itself lit. The ignitor is so big…it comes with a big price tag that I just can’t afford to replace…especially at Christmastime! Silly, but, every holiday, I bake. I’ve done it since I was in college. I bake assorted goodies and the boys run them around the neighborhood and we give them to family with much left over for home too! I really bake! What really happens when I bake is solace, peacefulness and…I feel happy. I am happy because it’s a piece of me that I didn’t lose when he died. I found my way back to my kitchen and as silly as it may sound, I think it was part of what kept me sane. It was something I could do for other people when I could hardly breathe for myself. It made my kids smile. It made me smile. It brought some warmth back into my cold, broken heart. It was comforting to have the same goodies that we all loved. It was comforting to tell stories of Christmas’ past that weren’t sad. I remembered the times when I didn’t feel hollow. I could talk about the Bouche Noel that we made at the country club when I worked there. I could mention his favorite treats and tease about how he called me his “bread-making machine”.
So, I don’t know if it’s the oven or I’m just not wanting one more Christmas without him to come. I don’t know if it’s my broken heart or my healing heart that is trying to keep Christmas at bay. I don’t know if it’s sadness that he’s gone or hope that I’m feeling a bit more confident in me and my survival skills that don’t want things to move forward one more time…I don’t know. What I do know, what I can count on is that Christmas will come…no matter what…the Grinch taught me that! It will come even without “tags, without packages, boxes or bags!” At the end, when year six has gone by my hope is that my broken heart will grow many sizes like the old Grinch’s did…and, maybe by year seven… I won’t want to pretend Christmas isn’t coming. I will look forward to the holidays with joy again.