I’ll be home for Christmas…AGAIN

This is a repost from last year at this time.  I find myself in the same place mentally as I was a year ago, but with another reason to stay in town (precious Josie).  I also find myself wondering where I’ll sit next year at this time as we still plan a big move in the Spring.  There is a lot of talk as we decorate the tree–wondering if it will be the last time in this house and trying to guess at what God has in store.  It feels a bit bittersweet, quite honestly.  But I trust His heart and His plans for me and keep moving forward and dreaming.

But for now…

I’m reflecting on Christmas….

Well, how could I not at this point when its existence is blared at air horn like decibels from every angle.
In a way, I can appreciate the music and lights and the glare of it all because it forces me into the Christmas mood, but under all the tinsel and wrappings I’ve been seeing some things.
This is our first traditional Christmas in several years.  By several, I mean that I can’t think of the last time.  By traditional, I mean we will be in our home on Christmas morning, and there will be some presents.
No matter what, we always put up much too big of a tree to fit in any house.  Our eyes our bigger than our tree stand, if you will.  It makes for a spectacular entrance into our home, but then there’s that part where you practically have to turn sideways to squeeze past it into the living area.
We always go choose it as a family and then put it up and decorate the house on Thanksgiving weekend to the same Christmas songs (I always cry at the right part of the right song), we drink egg nog and have creamy turkey soup.
And then, a few weeks later, with no presents under the tree, we undress it, clean it all up and get the heck out of dodge feeling like escapees.  We skip all the get-togethers and do what we love most–ROAD TRIP!!  We find restaurants of other cultures that are open on holidays and feast.  No breakfast casseroles for this group! And then we say “Merry Christmas” to each other as we open the door to some great lookin’ deal with a view in some warm climate.  Ahhhhh….I love Christmas Kirksey-style.
Not this year.  This year, with two newlywed, working children to consider and for a couple other reasons, we are going to do the thing.  Sigh.
At least once a day, I put aside the visions of ocean waves dancing in my head and instead look at amazon.com.
And, I must admit I’m kinda excited.  We’re keeping it simple–the budget is small on purpose.  There’s no need to be ridiculous, but I’m enjoying some of the suspense of choosing things for my favorite people and wrapping things and putting them under the tree to make them guess–that’s so weird!  And we won’t be having things too traditional.  For instance, we won’t be using any silverware to eat our meal on the big day…;o)
But there’s a thing I’m observing everywhere I look and listen.
Christmas baggage.
The ghosts of Christmas past, if you will.
Folks aren’t always as merry as all of this hype would lead one to believe.  Yes, this holiday is magical if you’re ten or under, but at some point the glitter rubs off a bit.
I’m not convinced that everyone’s buying what we’re being sold.
The whole spending money thing seems to wedge its way in between husbands and wives.  Moms are trying to keep the magic alive (no matter how old their babies) and dads seem to be trying to reign the magic in so they can actually afford January.  Raise your hand if you can relate.
Yup.  That’s what I thought.
And a lot of this is about how we were raised!  Newly married couples have to compromise on what colored tree lights we will have (despite what their family did!) and how much decorating will matter.
Plus, there’s the letting go of memories for some of us.  My dad hated Christmas.  He started feeling depressed the minute the Christmas carols started playing and gritted his teeth through all of it.  We did the thing, but he never shared why it made him so sad and in turn kinda sucked the joy for the rest of us.
People are hurting. And I can’t help but feel like all of this rubs their noses in it a bit.  Maybe I realized this after Justin’s accident last week.  I very quickly understood how different this Christmas could have been.  And will be for many, many people.
We celebrate the gift of our Savior. That is where all of this started whether we can see through all the fluff and stuff or not.  It’s supposed to be a worldwide birthday party.  Or at least a time for a big heart reflection on the birth of God as a baby in a food trough just because He needed a way to say “I love you” that would resound for all time.
If it was me, I might be a little saddened by all the silliness it’s become.
So, what is it to you?
Is it about tradition? Is it about family? Is it about a baby? Is it a struggle?
Obviously, I’m still wrestling with it.  But, I’ll be here passing out presents and singing a little carol or two on the big morning.  And, of course, I will still roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of a lot of it and buck the system as much as I can.
My heart already knows what matters, and trust me, I will be spending some time thanking my God for His creativity and sacrifice.  And I will revel in loving the ones that I am so very blessed to love.  And, I’ll pray that God opens my eyes to those who are hurting and be His hands however He lets me…

Once upon a time…

I used to smoke a pipe.

Well, I did, once.

My dad smoked a pipe and made neat smoke rings, and when I saw that pipe sitting in the window as I graced the seat of our commode at the wise old age of, oh, probably four, I gave it a good puff.  IN.  Yeah.   You can imagine.  Never gave in to that temptation again.

I just bought his tobacco at an antique store.  Smells familiar.

I just bought his tobacco at an antique store. Smells familiar.

I used to bite my nails like a fiend. I’d bite until my fingers looked like little nail-less nubs that hurt and sometimes bled. It took me until my senior pictures to grow a nail with white on it.  I guess my nerves were a bit frayed. It was better than sucking my thumb which I did for much too long until threatened enough times.
Back then, my pink blankie I got as an infant was my only real friend. Still is when I don’t feel my best.

sasha

C’mon. It was my awkward stage.

And my Great Dane was my other pal. She made for a good snuggle and tear-catcher.   I got her when I was three. She and I were quite the funny little team.  I had her until I was fifteen and over the years I got bitten three times. I learned that, though full of love, giant dogs have big teeth and even a “nibble” can create a need for stitches. Now, I have a Jack-Russell.

I didn’t want to be a mom.  I didn’t think there was any benefit for me.  I also didn’t think I came equipped with the right tools for that job.  But something about pushing a human out of your body gives you an inkling of an idea that maybe, just maybe, you can do more than you thought you could before.

63There was a time before I knew the absolute joy of a hug from a son to his momma.  The fascination of watching his muscles and Adam’s apple grow and his voice and mind become that of a man–a protector. And the beauty of watching his little flower-filled fist become a good man’s heart–love poised and ready.

my girlsOnce upon a time, I absolutely panicked at the thought of having a daughter–or TWO!! Little did I know the indescribable beauty they bring into a home, the sweet spirits they infuse into a momma’s life, the fascination I would find in their nurturing, caring hearts.  It was so unexpected.  It is the stuff of miracles that these treasures are mine to spend my life enjoying.

I used to think friendships were about what they could take from me.  They needed me to look and behave a certain way to be accepted.  And honesty in a friendship was relative to what that friendship could handle.  Now, I know that a true friend even loves the ugly, and lets me be just that if necessary.  Honest is honest. There is no such thing as relative truthfulness.

friends

I once believed that love in marriage was a temporary, youthful thing. If it got old, it also got frumpy and dusty. And undesirable. Now, I know it gets sweeter and more tender and blessedly, fuzzier around the edges. I mean that the rough places wear down a bit and you know where they are more so you don’t bump into them as often.

And a well, and long-loved item is what you pick over the shiny new one every single time.

e2597-dad2band2bmom

22 years and counting…

I used to think that holidays had to stink.  Bad.  Like the smell of someone else’s idea of what you had to do because someone else said so.  I’ve learned that tradition is a living, growing idea that can change and morph into whatever the heck we want it to look like.

Train rides and corn dogs on Easter.
Friends PLUS family at the movies on Thanksgiving.
Christmas

2012

Cocktail sauce and ketchup smeared all over a plastic tablecloth for Christmas.  It’s about heart, and smiles, and PEACE, and laughter and being together with folks you choose to be with. And some meaningful reflection shoring up the underside.

I used to be afraid of everything. Shoes dropping. Dreaming. Loving.

Now, I’m only afraid of the real stuff.
Like snowy road driving.
And BUGS.  Or should I say miniature monsters?
And if the bathtub were to fall through the floor when I’m in the tub with no clothes on. I’m not kidding. I saw when they put these floors in; they’re not that thick. And a tub full of water plus me is pretty heavy stuff!

I used to think my God was as old and stodgy as the deacons from some of the churches that judged me, as unaware as the earthly father I knew, as critical as my mother, and as bland as colorless as the future I saw for myself.
Not so much.
I don’t have words for the vibrancy of His love, the depth of His concern for me, the technicolor dreams He put deep inside me and has already fulfilled.
I thought He needed me. And my deep and martyr-like sacrifices. And the WORK He had for me to do…
Little did I know He just asked me to let Him love me and fill the broken places and then my heart became a teensy bit more like His and my corner of the world started to change as a result.

I used to long to write a novel. To tell my story.
Oh.