11 Days

11 Days

“Mommy, there are only 11 days left until Christmas. 10 days tomorrow!”

“I know! Isn’t that exciting,” I chirped back at my youngest son while tucking him into bed. Meanwhile I thought, “Fuuuuuuuudge,” in the tune of A Christmas Story because, well, eff-dash-dash-dash. Holidays. Oof.

I’m a little behind, you see. While I wrote about having a more mindful Christmas this year, I think I confused mindful with outright procrastination. Additionally, we’ve already eaten all of the cookies we baked early on, which means I need to bake more cookies. And I haven’t even made any Chex Mix. Wrapping presents? Pfft. Making other treats to give as gifts? Nope. Shipped things to Canada? No. Done anything more than watch weird Christmas movies on Netflix? Not really.

I’m feeling a little stressed about the holidays right now, though I’m trying to work through the stress with deep breathing, never-ending to-do lists, and ignoring the to-do lists. I recommend the last step to all. It’s really quite helpful. Or not.

In time, things will get done. I’m trying to postpone the “this Christmas is lighter than last Christmas” panic attack, mostly because I don’t believe in such a panic attack. I mean, I do in the way that I believe in panic attacks over each and every inconsequential thing under the sun, but I don’t in the way that my sons do not want for anything. Neither do I. Neither does my husband. I keep coming back to that thought.

And these thoughts.

A childhood friend of mine recently lost her son. Recently as in last week. Son as in they chose to adopt him even though they knew his health was at risk from before word go; he was four months old. I have watched and prayed and sent good thoughts and covered them in all the love I can possibly give, and still, he is gone and they are here. The world feels very cruel at times. I wish I could do something or say something or magic up a way for them not to feel so hurt and lost right now. I cannot.

I’ve watched other friends endure the horror that is chemotherapy this season. Mothers died. Fathers died. Grandparents passed on. Pets died. People lost jobs. Pregnancies ended. Insert pain here, it’s happened. It’s still happening. The holidays don’t care about the normal passage of time.

I’ve sat and watched this all happen over the past few weeks as I’ve started to fret about our Christmas readiness, about the number of gifts under the tree. I watched the majority of these people enter into these periods of grieving with such grace, at least on the outside. I’ve watched the others share their grief on their sleeves, on their social media accounts; I’ve watched them get real about what hurts and how loss sucks. I’ve watched all these parties and reevaluated my so-called behind-ed-ness.

Christmas is going to happen. The holidays will come and go. The boys will open too many presents from us, from grandparents, from aunts and uncles. We’ll eat too much food. We’ll be warm, and not just because it’s 70 degrees, and sheltered. We’ll be here.

What more could or should we want?

…other than for our friends to not hurt right now, or ever. Or to miss my own Grandmother, a loss I’m feeling in a different way this year, our second Christmas without her. Oh, we’ll get through this season, on time or not, but I’ll hold those in my life experiencing new grief this holiday so very, very close.

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