Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Peace

Sunday morning as I readied my children for church, I found myself blinking away almost constant tears. I don't know why Sunday's are the hardest. I imagine it is the closeness I feel to the Spirit while attending my meetings. Even my sweet Rachel has the hardest time on Sunday, often crying her way through Primary songs with her Primary teacher daddy holding her hand.

The closing song of our Sacrament Christmas program was Silent Night. I have never heard it sung so beautifully and found peace in each melodic verse of our ward choir. But I could not contain the tears and felt a bit embarassed at this raw, personal show of emotion in so public a setting.

Later I stopped in at my mom's to help her with a quick task. I sought comfort in her arms and sobbed as she held me. Sometimes I can't even articulate what I am feeling, I just know that I feel so weighed down, so profoundly sad. The beautiful thing about my mother's love is that there is no need for explanation. She just knows. She understands and accepts.

Imagine my surprise then, when I read this today at Segullah. Of course I cried my way through it, espescially when the author writes "The loss of my father penetrates in the cavern of my chest and I carry it daily, and with even more heaviness just before Christmas."

But the article also gave me peace. Peace in knowing that my feelings are normal and understood by those who have suffered the same loss. Peace in the blessing of a firm testimony that my dad is well and close by. And espescially, peace and gratitude for the blessing of a kind and loving mother who is still here to offer her mother arms in comfort when I need it most.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Saving Grace

Tuesday night I set out into the cold dark night to make the thirty minute drive to Orem to pick up Rachel from dance. Sara Mclachlan's Christmas CD was playing on my car stereo. As she sang "Wintersong", I found myself silently sobbing at sixty miles an hour. While the song is about missing a lover, the lyrics spoke to my heart.

The Lake is frozen over,

The trees are white with snow,

And all around reminders of you are everywhere I go.

When silence gets too hard to handle,

And the night too long,

This is how I see you

In the snow on Christmas Morning

Love and Happiness surround you.

Oh I miss you now.

Rachel opened the door with her usual post-dance exuberance and immediately noticed my tear stained face. "Oh mom! I miss him too." As she quickly climbed into my lap and wrapped her arms around me. More tears of gratitude for a nine year old spirit wise beyond her years. I am constantly amazed at her perception and tender compassion for me, her mother. The one who is supposed to be guiding her.

Wednesday morning I set out to make Coconut bread for Christmas morning. Miles found his usual spot on the counter sitting next to the Bosch. I let him crack his first egg and he happily helped me count out cups of flour. He delighted in the sweetened coconut which he called "cheese" and was soon helping himself to copious handfuls from the bag. Each time I removed the lid he squealed his pleasure and sank his pudgy fingers into the sticky batter. In the end, we were both a floured-coconut mess, but I don't remember feeling that happy in a very long time. It is hard to feel sad in the midst and wide eyed wonder of a two year olds' joy. Oh, how Miles' bright spirit blesses me.

Later as I was driving Cole home from school, he told me how his teacher was trying to teach his class about the moon and it's effect on seasons; except she kept saying semen instead of season. Cole and I laughed and laughed and laughed. Each time he told the story, it became funnier as only a few of the kids in his sixth grade class understood the faux pas. It felt so good to laugh. I have come to rely on Cole's humor, his silly antics, his impressions and crazy accents to lighten my heart. He is like a breath of fresh air walking through the door each day at three o clock.

And late at night, when the quiet house brings a profound sense of loneliness as I sort through thirty eight years of memories with my dad, it is this sweet babe inside of me, rolling and kicking, stretching and turning that gives me reason to pause. Pause and relish the present day blessings and abundant joy filling my life. When sleep fails me, it is often this tiny spirit which offers peace.

These children are my saving grace. I have never felt more grateful for the blessing of being a mother. Tony has been holding me up for over three months, his efforts worthy of an entire post dedicated solely to him. But it is these four children who lift me, laugh with me, comfort me and calm me day in and day out. They give my life purpose in a time when I have felt unanchored.