To me, December is profound. On the tenth of this month back in 1996, we found out my father was riddled with cancer; he was gone ten weeks later. Last year, on the 9th, our mom died. But in December 1991, before either of my parents passed away, I stopped drinking…and goodness came after, even in grief.
Not the least of my blessings was the husband, who understood me early on and asked me to marry him anyway. What followed were three daughters, who greatly reduced my egocentric tendencies because their needs came, and continue to come, before mine. Motherhood has been freeing; pleasure results in selfless acts. I dare you to prove otherwise.
It’s hardly coincidence then that Christmas falls at this personally emotional time. Whether you celebrate the day because of the birth of Christ, or bask in the season’s demonstrations of joy, they are essentially the same. If there is one thing I learned through twelve years of Catholic education it is this: God is love.
For the last several years, Santa Claus has evolved between the girls. There’s been no formal discussion of his tenuous existence and this year, the first ever, we failed to set out cookies and milk after returning from church and heading to bed. I still talk foolishly of the presents he chose – blaming him for wrong sizes and late deliveries – as a way to soften the commercialism that arrives under our tree each year. At the end of the morning, none of it matters. Gifts are given, music is playing, the family is together. If Santa is magic and magic is something we can’t explain, then I’m fine with keeping him around because I can’t fully explain December. Though I loved the season as a child, there were painful years before 1991. Since then, it’s been lovely and I am deeply grateful.
From Daily Cup of Jo…Merry Christmas to you and yours.