Tuesday, December 21, 2010

All I Want for Christmas...

These past few days have brought home one of the true meanings of Christmas...family.  Very dear friends have suffered through illness with a child for the past several weeks and the uncertainty that often comes with it.  I believe that there is nothing worse than the uncertainty of an ill child when there seem to be no answers.  The assurances of doctors and prayers of loved ones are a comfort but there still remains the fear that lurks in the back on your mind.  Thankfully, all seems to have turned out quite well with my friends' child and their Christmas will certainly be merrier.  I can only imagine the joy in that home this Christmas. 

As for me and mine, this time of year is always a little melancholy.  While the joy is definitely still there, the wonder that was once in my child's eyes as she looked at the tree is long gone.  It has been replaced by the grown up knowledge that comes with young adulthood.  She still asks for presents from Santa and Santa still delivers . . . as big as he can!  But there's something about it that is just a little different.  Thinking of Christmases past always makes me a little sad.  I can't help but long for those Christmases of long ago when she didn't even doubt that what she asked for was under the tree simply because it was all she asked for.  My heart is full when I think of how grateful I am that she is home with us and that these holidays are surely numbered.  Changes are coming.  It is only as it should be and is natural and right.  That doesn't keep it from making me a little sad.  Every year on Christmas Eve my sister, her family, and my family meet at my mother's home after we have spent time at my grandmother's.  Every year it turns into big fun and there is always lots of laughing and good-natured fun.  This year will be no different.  But in years to come life and circumstances will surely alter our traditional Christmas Eve.  I don't know where Erin's life will take her.  John and I have always told her that wherever her life takes her will never be too far away for us to visit.  But, when Christmas Eve comes where will we be?  No matter our physical presence, our hearts will always be where she is...with her life and her family. 

But this year the question most asked, "What do you want for Christmas?" is easy for me.  I think of my friends who have worried so over their child this past month and know the answer to that question.  What do I want?  Nothing.  I want for nothing.  I have my family and those most dear to me and they have their health.  What more could I possibly ask for?  So this year as I sit with my family as we celebrate the holidays I will do so knowing that there are no more blessings to ask for.  I have been blessed, surely, until my cup runneth over. 

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Just got home from a great day in Dothan with Erin.  We met my mom at Bradley's Florist open house this morning for a little shopping first...a trip that has become a tradition for the three of us.  We actually do more visiting with Ralph and family than anything else.  If you've never been you should go.  Beautiful Christmas decorations!  I have to be really, really careful with my budget when I go.  I like everything I see!

After Bradley's Erin and I headed out to Dothan to do a little shopping on our own and kill some time.  Angela Kelley and her little girl Brynne (Miss B to those who know her!) and Debbie Driver met us there for the afternoon matinee of Disney's new Rapunzel movie Tangled. If you haven't been and you like Disney princess movies, you should really go.  Disney has come a long way since Snow White!  It was really kind of neat. All around us were mothers and daughters spending a day at the movies.  The best part, though, was the daddies there with their daughters!  It was definitely a good old-fashioned Disney princess movie but with a twist.  We had a ball and Brynne was fascinated!  We spent some time afterward in the lobby visiting and watching Brynne show us how her new Rudolph (that her daddy got her just this morning) fly!  She was so funny.  She would look up at us and say, "Rudolph flies!" then toss him into the air.  Then she was kind enough to pose in front of the movie display  long enough for her mom to get a picture of her at her first movie.  Angela and Russell are taking Brynne to Disney World over Christmas break and all indications are a good time will be had by all!

My house is a total mess from the boxes which hold our Christmas decorations through the year until we are ready for them.  Our decorations are all up and tomorrow we'll add the last touch by putting up the tree. If Erin and I hadn't had a girls' day out today it would be up already, but I think we had our priorities straight.  Tomorrow morning we're going to church to hear the cantata.  I believe it'll really begin to feel like Christmas. 

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back to Normal...Kind of

Erin came home from college today and life is back to normal . . . kind of.  She'll be home until around the middle of January and that isn't nearly long enough for me.  Having her sit across the dinner table from me tonight knowing she'll be there for several nights to come made me feel almost normal.  In the back of my mind is lurking the knowledge that as normal as it may seem, nothing is "normal" anymore.  This is home, but she doesn't live here.  She texts when she has a bad day or a disappointing class, but I can't hug her.  She has a life away from us that has nothing to do with us at all.  She has friends we have never met and probably never will.  That's our new normal.  Sometimes I feel as if I'm standing outside my life watching it all go on without me.  How did I lose all those years leading up to this?  I can't get them back and I'm pretty sure the memories are pretty selective.  Just last week she was born, yesterday she started kindergarten.  A day which I failed as a parent, by the way.  I have no picture of my only child on her first day of school ever. One of the milestones of her life and I missed it.  I do remember her standing at the door telling us, "I've got it from here."  I knew then she would never need me the same way again.  I cried all the way to work. 

So here I am, looking at this young woman sitting across the table from me and wondering if she has a clue how magical it all has been.  And yes, Virginia, I do believe in Santa Claus.  The proof is sitting across the dinner table from me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Well, here goes . . .

A couple of former students have begun publishing blogs, so I thought I'd try my hand.  This may be a shortlived effort depending on what actually shows up on these pages!  Sometimes I have a tendency to ramble about random thoughts and this seemed a good platform for that.  

The title for this blog really stumped me for a little while.  I tried several different titles that didn't seem so obvious to me; evidently I was mistaken.  The first three I tried weren't available.  The fourth, the one I stuck with, is a reference to an inside "joke" between me and John.  Joke may not be the right word here.  Waltzing brings back many fond memories over the course of our marriage beginning with a conversation on the back porch of the dorm while we were dating, to a very thoughtful gift of ballroom dance lessons many, many years ago, right through quiet Saturday nights dancing at home in our living room.  We've been waltzing for 23 years now and I'm looking forward to at least that many more.  I'd love to be able to explain in more detail, but I'm just not sure anyone else would get it.

I promise to try not to make this a platform for venting after a long, hard day trying to help teenagers appreciate the beauty of literature and the power of the spoken language.  Don't get me wrong, I have quite a few students who are very smart and will do great things with their lives.  Then, of course, there are others.  My days are made when one of those actually appears interested in what I have to say.  I love what I do and it doesn't take very many of those days to keep me interested in continuing to get up every morning and try again.  I've been doing this long enough that former students' children are starting school.  I think I'm getting old.  I'm not really sure how that happened.  I mean, just yesterday I was the young teacher on the staff and now I'm one of the oldest.  I have a grown child away in college who already outstrips me in life experiences.  She is truly a world traveler and is comfortable in social situations I had never dreamed of when I was her age.  My grandmother was my age when I was born.  That's just wrong!  I have friends who are grandparents.  That's even more wrong! 

I am at one of those crossroads in life where choices of how to carry on must be made.  So far, I've just drifted with the current.  The realization that what happens from here is all up to me is a bit overwhelming.  I think what I should have learned many years ago that I am just now understanding is that life isn't a journey; it's a series of day trips.  Each phase of life is one trip.  The sum of those parts is the journey.  The Beatles (I LOVE the Beatles and will probably refer to them often, deal with it) had a song called "Day Tripper."  Pretty sure their lyrics didn't refer to my particular references, but to me they fit.  It's a one way ticket, you know?