It is hard to believe that Christmas is here. I feel as though I closed my eyes at Halloween and have reopened them only moments later to Christmas. This complete lost time is most definitely reflected in the absence of posts. And yet, here I am…just a mere day before Christmas. Fidgety, I awoke to the present in a panic, sorting through photos to make sure that we did in fact live all the Christmasy goodness I so look forward to. And you know what? We did. Our children had a fabulous holiday season. From caroling, tree farms, visiting family to late fesitval nights and even a great twirl under the Zilker tree. We really did it all.
And yet… throughout it all, this season just hasn’t felt as alive with the holiday spirit as those of the past.
While hesitant to openly discuss in a social media forum, I think I’m ready to now. The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary last week grabbed a raw place in my heart and settled in with marked and aching sadness. So much so, that in every free thinking moment, my mind would wander to that sad, dark place and I’d find myself reaching for tissues and stifling my tears. Perhaps it was the fact, that I too, am a parent of a 1st grader. Picturing my oldest having to process even a fraction of that terror not only scared the pants off me but left me googling the safest places in the world to live and various homeschooling options. It could be that my reaction is related to the fact that my professional work is in trauma. Maybe I took all my squished down feelings associated with previous traumas and smoorgasborded it all into this one isolated event of sadness. Or perhaps it is just because I am a human grieving one of the most inhumane moments in history. Who knows. But for whatever the reason, this Lockean, was no longer thinking that the world was inherently good… and that felt sad. and scary. and not very Christmasy at all.
So when our on-call physician informed me on Friday, that I needed to take Molly in to Dell ER for a rule-out appy, my heart sank. Looking back now I can stop and see the bigger picture, at the time my inner Grinch was quite revved up and not loving life. I still had Christmas shopping to do. Hospitals are just so expensive. I felt like I had just left work and already was headed back in. I didn’t want something else to bring me down. Best case scenario, we would be walking out that evening with one lovely emergency room bill and the other scenarios pushed us closer to the hospital for Christmas. It all felt crunchy.
Funny how, often times in my prickliest moment, I am awakened to some balancing slant on living—the secret truths that make all the crunchy moments worth it. Sitting in that emergency room, amongst the machines, medicine and germs, all I could feel surrounding me was love. Overflowing, abundantly available, gallons of love. The people who support me professionally were now loving me personally…and my little. Grandparents were calling from Dallas for updates and friends were on-call for last-minute sibling support. This moment was one of the stark fears I had carried for these past few years of living in Austin. What if something happens here and we don’t have family around to support us? It’s silly now to even think that family is limited to just one space. Surrounding my room, were the other Moms and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas all worrying about their specials and working to quiet the underbelly concerns related to finances, holiday hospitalization and the likes. I felt it everywhere… we had community. We did end up getting admitted for IV antibiotics overnight for random pneumonia and later discharged for Christmas Eve. Molly walked away from it all, “sad to leave such a great vacation.” My silly girl.
She must have felt all that love too.
That moment of light was just the Christmas warmth I was needing. There are so many good people of this world too. It seems in times of sadness, it is difficult to see those standing there beside you. Family is not limited to just one space or a specific group of people. It’s YOUR community and it is everywhere. In hospitals, in schools, even in Connecticut. It finds you in the dark and slowly lets in light… even if takes a while to feel it. I sure hope all those families in Newtown can feel it too.
So while a bit late and quite out of context…
I wish you warmth, light and abundant community. May your days truly be merry and bright in the year to come.