I got excited decorating the tree the other day.
Then, our son Ralph called from New York.
“Mom, I can’t make it for Christmas. I only have four days off. To get to Seattle, two days of my time would be flying.”
This would not have happened if he had moved to LA instead of back east.
At his words, my world came tumbling down as fast as a newly cut Christmas tree.
Now my Christmas will be crawling in my warm bed with one of John Grisham’s legal thriller paperbacks plus all my pillows and blankets to cushion my wounded soul until Dec 26.
This is the first year we don’t have any grown children with us to spend Christmas.
After talking to Ralph, I felt like crying, but I couldn’t. I stared at my walls with photographs of my boys and Napoleon. With my shoulders slumped, I told myself to breathe deeply. It was the only thing I knew how to do–breathe to the next moment.
But, in my next breath I had an A-HA moment. This holiday season is teaching me something: acceptance.
There is nothing to add or subtract.
Just: Let it be.
This is what happens when kids grow up (and grow old, too) and move far from home. And that is what they are suppose to do.
It’s in their DNA to leave the nest.
When I was 19, I moved all the way down south to a big scary city with lots of freeways. It is called LA.
I wanted to figure out a few things on my own.
I managed to make new friends, I worked 9 to 5,
I attended acting class at night, and I went out dancing on Fridays until 5 a.m.
Kids have to explore, to be a trailblazer at whatever career God guides them into doing and that uses all their gifts and talents.
THIS IS WHAT I TOLD MYSELF as I stared at all the photographs on the cream walls of my home office.
I do know that giving my children their space and meeting them where they are in life with a smile is what I do best.
When I talk to my boys I’m mindful to NOT say How come you never call? or How come you never visit? I know this would get them running in the opposite direction. I actually learned this lesson from my mother-in-law. She would pose these questions to her son and guess what? He doesn’t visit often.
I also know now what my own mother feels when all her five grown children are not together for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the occasional Sunday dinners.
There is a small part in a mother’s heart that is not complete when her precious children are not with them in the same city.
“I’m not feeling JINGLE BELL ROCK this Christmas. Our boys, Ruth (my son’s girlfriend), and our grandchild Napoleon are not with us.”
I unload my emotions on my husband as we walk along the beach talking about Christmas and the weather.
“I’m sad.” he says.
“I’m in good company!”
“We have each other.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
It gives me comfort that I can lean on you for whatever comes my way this Christmas.
This is what I can do–pray without ceasing.
Pray that your spirit is with our boys to protect and care for them.
Bless them with friends to be with at Christmas so they will not be alone. Thank you for my prayer life. It keeps me from panicking and freaking out. I know you will take care of all things.
I ask for your blessing around the world to keep the world in perfect step with you.