One of the tow-headed boys I used to babysit for was convicted last week of sordid sexual crimes against multiple children. Horrifying. My father is recovering from his fifth heart attack, which occurred just ten weeks ago. Amazing. My in-laws are aging, mentally and physically. Sad fact of life. Several friends have had parents who recently had accidents or are sick and will never recover. More life. Another friend’s husband lost his job, the last payroll day 12/24. Merry Christmas.
It has been a bittersweet holiday season, with all these activities swirling around the base of the lighted tree, relentlessly reminding me that life moves on, unaware of the calendar dates, the celebrations with friends and families, the wrapping of gifts, donations of time/goods/money. I have disappeared in my thoughts, words hard to speak about these things, let alone freeze in print. Some annual events have been more subdued than others, as my friends have also hidden their hearts, brave smiles with sad eyes.
We all hope our children still have shiny, star-filled days of joy of celebrating with their friends, hugs from cousins, snowboards on white hills, home created sugar-filled sweets, whispers with each other, the perfect gift to open, hidden from the pain-the horrors-the loss-the sadness. Alas, their realities blend with ours as they turn older and become quietly aware of our subdued voices, see their grandparents ill, hear about the jobless.
Too young, they become aware that the holiday season is not happiness for all. Our kids lost an uncle on Christmas Eve seven years ago, so they were awakened to this fact far younger than they should have been. Still more lucky than most, a moderately-successful year for our family, perhaps the awareness of what is around us will remind them how lucky they really are.
And we hope the new year brings health, prosperity, luck for those around us, we know that there will be loss, fear, dwindling accounts, and solitary times for friends and family. We will strive to find joy and happiness to layer atop the mixed reality we experience each day. C