For a day that had the potential to go many different ways, this Christmas will go down in history as one of the great ones.
I know that I am blessed. I know to not take it for granted.
After all of the running around and stressing about money and worrying about my mom being alone and listening to Pavarotti missing my father, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be laughs or tears.
It was both. In every good way.
About halfway through Christmas Eve – after hitting the Dollar Store at the end of my road TWICE, and realizing that I couldn’t clean my house because there is a handi-wipe lost somewhere within the multitude of hoses on my vacuum cleaner and having to call TAM’s daughter and her partner to let them know that my gift will, in fact, NOT be arriving on time – I was suddenly filled with joy. I let go of all the stressors and wishing that things could be different and decided to revel in the fact that I am loved and that I love those in my world deeply.
My father loved Christmas. I love Christmas.
TAM and I had a magical Christmas Eve complete with tequila and tamales and tenderness. We cozied up, thanked each other for our shared love, and slept like babies.
Yesterday, ALL of my children came over; Boys 1, 2, and 3. Girlfriends, dogs, TAM.
We masked up in the living room to exchange gifts then headed out for a socially distanced hike in the canyon. How fortunate am I to live in a place where I could safely and gleefully share the day with my family?
How fortunate am I that my children are willing to indulge their mommy by getting out of their PJ’s and driving all this way to wander amongst rocks and sand?
I adore being in their presence. Their laughter and teasing and hugs fill me up. Watching them embrace TAM because he is embracing me, embracing them, as part of one big family is the best thing that I can imagine.
At points, I lagged behind (not because the younger ones moved faster then I could;)) to enjoy watching them together. They all lead their own lives now. They no longer all live together. They don’t all get together very frequently, so it was a treat for them as well as for me.
I am not close with my brother – he doesn’t like me very much. One of the most important lessons I tried to teach my children was the value and preciousness of their relationships with each other. Watching them, listening to them, hearing their mixed laughter…priceless.
Two out of three of them have brought girlfriends into our little world. The girls couldn’t be more different, but they are each perfect for my boys. My sons are happy and in love. They are tender and caring and loving with the women they have chosen and who have chosen them.
Maybe growing up in a “broken home” has taught them the value of real, respectful, supportive love. Maybe they just lucked out.
But I lucked out too. If I have to share my boys’ attentions with other women, I am grateful that I have J and J because they are not only lovely but they wrap themselves around me as well as my boys.
My boys are happy. They are healthy. They are persuing dreams – making shit happen. They are kind, funny, affectionate, warm, open, and loyal. After all that my family has been through in the last few years, there is nothing that warms my heart more than to have all come out on the other side…
I hadn’t seen my boys in months. I was grieving. Two out of the three are moving away this spring and I couldn’t bear for that to happen without seeing them.
But we made it happen.
The only only only thing that would have made the day more complete would have been to have TAM’s kiddos with us too.
I went from a traditional, husband-wife-two kids family to a cluster of misfits: The Mexican, the Mormon, the Homeless, the Felon, the College dropout, the mildly-unstable mom, and the incredible, twice divorced, super sexy single dad who stepped right in, stepped right up, and embraced the hodgepodge.
I wept with joy multiple times yesterday and I am welling up as I write this.
After all of the shit that we have been through – as individuals and as a whole – it’s a wonder that we not only landed on our feet, but did so with strength and resiliency and gratitude and determintaion and compassion and love.
I will be forever grateful for these oh-so-special human beings.
On days when life seems like more of a struggle, I will have yesterday to lean on, to remind me of all of the goodness that I have in my life.
My heart is full.
I feel a peace that I haven’t exxperienced in years (and years and years).
And I have renewed hope that one day, eventually, all will be right in the world again.
And I don’t take one single second for granted.