Something happened this week that kind of made my toes feel a touch stepped on. It was nothing big and I am all but certain it wasn’t meant the way I took it. But I made the foolish choice to allow it to get me out of sorts for a bit. Frankly, I overreacted!
Then perspective kicked in.
A friend from Erie lost her mom to an illness and lost her sister-in-law just days later to violence.
Another friend from Erie lost her dad to a heart attack.
A “young man” – he’s closer to my baby sister’s age than mine – is battling stage 4 cancer. It’s ravaging his body and they were hoping he would be stable enough to return home. The pictures of him with his kids and wife were heart-wrenching to say the very least. It doesn’t look good and they are treasuring every next breath he takes. Barring a miracle, he is nearing the end of his journey in this life.
I’m oh so homesick this year. Strangely, so are both my sisters. The silliest things – a favorite Christmas movie, baking a traditional holiday sweet treat – have been causing tears and fond memories. I’m missing my grandparents an extra lot for some reason this year. Maybe it’s the fact that their great-granddaughter’s wedding is in just a few weeks and they won’t be there. I’ve shed quite a few tears today remembering holidays spent at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and wishing that just once more I would find myself packed into Grandma’s kitchen with my mom, my sisters, my aunt, my cousins and grandma cleaning up from the Thanksgiving meal (after which we’d all sit down to work on a puzzle – it was a thing, trust me). Grandpa and his Christmas ties, Grandma’s Christmas village, a fire in the fireplace . . . and that ridiculous motion activated Santa Clause – which would bounce up and down and sing “Jingle Bells” when you walked by – that always scared the tar out of me when I came down in the mornings when we would visit over Christmas!
I cannot be with any of the extended family this year and I’m rather pouty about it. And that “toes stepped on” thing from earlier?! Yeah, that doesn’t even register right now. And I still have my siblings, my children, my spouse, my parents, and my nieces and nephews. There is a rich legacy handed down from grandparents – who constantly welcomed strangers into their home and did whatever good they could in the community where they spent their entire married lives – that I am lucky enough to be a part of. So tomorrow, there will be a great big meal in the evening with the traditional entree as well as some things that have become traditional pieces of the meal in recent years. My “almost-son-in-law” will join us as will an honorary daughter who needed a place to call home for the holiday. I will enjoy the laughter, make more memories, take advantage of the gift of technology to schedule a “Google Hangout” with my sisters, and revel in the fact that those I love know I miss and love them.
Hug your loved ones a little tighter, spend just a second longer sitting at the table and laughing, and cherish whatever stage of life you find yourself in. For those who are grieving this holiday season because a loved one isn’t with you, this song keeps running through my head so I’m going to share it here: