Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven. ~Tryon Edwards
Large snowflakes are falling, turning my office window into a giant snow globe. It is currently eight degrees outside (!) and looks a lot like Christmas in the icy Northwest. My home, however, is another matter. Nary a bough of holly, nor a snippet of mistletoe adorn anything in my house. I am painfully aware that it is December seventeenth!
My one and only, who began her first year of college this past September, will be home for Christmas. Tomorrow. So, today, the flurries begin inside.
In spite of all the Christmases past, tainted by the various lunacies of my relatives, Christmas remains my favorite holiday. When my mother used to say that I had ENOUGH decorations, I would inform her, “there are NEVER enough Christmas decorations!”
So, why has the calendar gotten the better of me? It has been an unsettling year. My ex-husband left his second wife, which poked at the ashes of our own failed marriage and sent our daughter into an emotional tailspin.
The day before Kate’s high school graduation, I learned that my beloved friend of 41 years was dying of cancer. Although she is still “with” us, she lies, all 5’ 10” and sixty withering pounds, on heaven’s doorstep.
Last month, my Aunt Frances, the last of the “biddies” (as my sister called the formidable women of our mother’s generation), passed away at the tender age of eighty-nine. Which now makes me the family matriarch — a role for which I am woefully ill-equipped. Talk about being “Peter Principled”!
And then, my daughter, my constant companion for the past eighteen years, did the unthinkable: she grew up and became the very person I had hoped she would be. What I hadn’t considered in the successful rearing of this amazing creature, was that it involved her LEAVING me.
But, now that I can practically hear the broken silence of an end-of-term, holiday-hyped teenager in the house, I realize I have thirty-six hours to mine my frigid garage for the trappings of the season and create a festive homecoming for my expectant daughter.
It is time for the loss of the past year to be tucked away, like last month’s gourds and autumn leaves. I’m counting on the old (Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney), and the new (Harry Connick Jr., Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Bublé, Martina McBride) to put me “in the mood” and get my holiday mojo in gear.
It is the season of hope and miracles and gratitude for all that is good in our lives. It is a time for creating new memories, dusting off cherished traditions, and reflecting, with gentle forgiveness, on the past.
With all the loss, in all its various incarnations, there are still a million reasons to be thankful, and another million reasons to celebrate. But I really only need one… Kate is coming home.