I woke up early Christmas Eve morning. The rest of the family slept as I unloaded the dishwasher, started a batch of cookie dough, and sipped my coffee in the quiet of the morning. I knew that it wouldn't be the day I had been dreaming of. I love traditions and was the kid who grew up trying to force them upon a family that didn't seem all that interested. In some ways, I still do. I wanted time. I wanted someone to be by my side in the kitchen all day, or at least in the other room laughing with the girls. And instead all I was going to get was dinner. My heart felt dejected, as if all of the years trying to make a family didn't matter. Attempting to force feed joy and togetherness to someone who didn't want it while all the while I battle exhaustion ....Let's face it, I haven't been the poster girl for joy in quite some time.
I press play and listen to "Let it Be" until I believe it.
And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary, comes to me speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
But my Sophie girls wasn't far behind me. She came into the room with that smile that lights me up from the inside. And the next song came on, a little something from REM, and I had no choice but to wrap her up in my arms and spin her around the room over and over as we danced and laughed, even while the rest of the family slept on.
It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine....
This morning is not how I imagined it, but there is peace in the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the sound of Sophie's laughter, and the warmth of my kitchen.
******We gather around the table, full of people I love. It's not the scene played during the opening credits of Parenthood that I imagine for my family someday. There are kids running around laughing and we don't even attempt to get them to sit down and eat. But it's good. And there is peace in knowing that our home is full of love and laughter.
The kids open their gifts and are full of smiles and squeals and all that you want from preschoolers on a Christmas morning. There is music playing in the background, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow," as one of the girls happens to peek outside the window. And there is our little Christmas miracle. Snow is falling. Just enough to cover the dirt, cover the mess of the city. Cover the mess of my heart.
We exchange our little gifts. I was given very strict parameters. I stayed close. He did not. Not one, not two, but three. I tell him that I am overwhelmed and that I don't deserve this. He says it's not undeserved, it's overdue. We spend the rest of the day holding hands. There is peace in the love of a family. In the love of a husband and wife.
This isn't written by the glow of the Christmas tree while snow falls softly to the ground and my family sleeps soundly. Instead, there is the hum of the city coming back to life after a day off, cartoons, and three little girls playing. We have moon dough, a rice sensory bin, and glitter paint all being used at once. It's chaos here folks. It's not how I imagined it, but there is peace in knowing my babies are happy and playing and laughing.
I work so hard to create this life that I want for me. That I want for my family. I fight for it. We fight for it. Everything is just so hard. And this season I think of another mother who undoubtedly had different hopes and dreams for how things would play out. But we all know that story, and I know that we don't see the end when we are still in the middle.
I'm so grateful for this Advent, this time of reflection. As I type out my last post of this series I think how Hope, Love, and Joy aren't complete unless there is peace. Unless there is the knowledge that God is in the middle of our mess, that He is guiding us with His strong hand. All this fighting. All this striving. It's just too much.
Today I throw in the towel. I will stop trying so hard. I'm going to allow bits and pieces of peace to flow in me and my family.
I'm a lot happier for it.