Monday, December 24, 2007
Happy Christmas Eve...
Another new experience for me, totally completely new.
I will be spending Christmas Eve alone for the first time in my life. The funny thing is, I don't feel sad about it. The thought is there, that I should feel sad, (and a huge part of me wishes I were spending it in the arms of someone very special), but I also think of it as a test for me, of my ability to be content with me.
I've had years of special Christmas Eves, luckily most of them were filled with love, joy, and sharing of time with loved ones.
As an adult without any real planning this night became the special night of the season. I have spent my entire adult life with my husband. Many years, it would be the day I would spend creating special candies, cookies, and other sweets (I never liked preparing things too far ahead of time, freshness is very important to me, aside from being a major procrastinator). In the early years of our relationship, it was the evening we set aside for ourselves as a couple, before we would have to travel between family events. An evening we spent preparing, creating and finally eating a special meal together. As our children were added to our lives the tradition was expanded upon...this tradition of keeping Christmas Eve privately ours...'twas one of the few nights in our busy lives that all the rest of the world was shut out except for the four of us in our little nuclear family.
As I review these many Christmas Eves filling my memory, I am filled with a soft contentment. The majority of my memories are of time spent filled with love, laughter, silliness, and sharing. (There was always some gluttony as well--our tummies were always over full by the end of the evening). But mostly the love shines through the memories....last year's was difficult, it was a Christmas in which the heavy clouds of melancholy could not be shaken from my heart, I tried, O, I tried, but was not completely successful. With the distance of time though, I can recall moments when there was a break in the clouds and a beam of loving light broke through my heart, which I was then able to spread to the rest of my loves.
This year is different though. Another is going to try her best to recreate "our" traditional Christmas Eve feast. As Mr. Son told me this last night, I watched his eyes cloud over, a look in his eyes of fear...fear that I would be hurt. I wasn't. I reassured him it's OK, (plus I know my mother-in-law will not be able to recreate the meal as I would. A little gloating here, I am a better cook than she, except when it comes to lasagna--then she is the master chef), I wanted him to know that I will be alright tonight, (at least I think I will).
The memories are flowing through me this morning though.
I feel as if I should be busy already, as this day was most always spent creating. The meal itself quite simple, but each recipe lovingly prepared is ingrained within my memory. Hor' dourves prepared and set out to whet appetites, the perfect blend of seasonings for the lobster tails, attempting to grill each porterhouse steak to please each individual's taste (gotta admit I screwed this up a lot, not running often enough between outside deck and the kitchen), a salad blending that makes my mouth water just to think of it, fluffy baked potatoes, broccoli florets adding the perfect touch of color, goblets filled with wine or sparkling juices, and several desserts to choose from. Then after the sharing of our feast, games played, or a family movie to watch, silliness to giggle over, and one special gift for each child to open before bed.
So, in my heart there is sadness. Sadness that I have taken away from my children something special, a time that was...just theirs...just ours. Something I can never give them again in quite the same way. But, I have to accept that, I have to acknowledge that change happens, I gave them my best when they were children. Now they are young adults, they have their own traditions to create, and I have new ones of my own to find.
I wish a happy Christmas to all regardless of their beliefs, because in spite of all the glitter, all the hype, all of the mumbo jumbo about this time of year...for me...it is a time to look back and allow myself to be filled with gratitude for what I have, not what I don't.
We can each find the joy and peace, sometimes all it takes is being very very still, and opening our senses to all there is...inside and out.