My sister Kim sent me an email mid-December which I never responded to. It asked me how I was feeling this Christmas season.
I think I was kind of waiting for the christmas mood to hit me so that I could have a positive reply but it didn't happen that way.
Logic might say that this year the holidays might be easier than the last. But that's not the way it turned out. For many reasons, I was feeling very sad inside and the stark contrast of two happy, excited, jubilant children left me feeling guilty on top of it all. Right around Christmas day I had the recurring heart-wrenching question go through my head of whether or not I would EVER feel happy again at Christmas. It does not seem possible right now.
And the changing of the year, that's a strange thing that maybe other widows might understand. Last year I could never face the actual events; for example I went to bed before midnight so I didn't have to see the clock strike midnight. Last year all I could think about was "getting through" the new year in which I knew my husband would never take a breath. It's really all I could see.
This year I was up at midnight, but again, there was really no happiness involved in the event that year after year I rang in with gusto and (lots of times) a crowd. I have different feelings about this year though, I don't want it to be just getting by anymore. I have spent so long in limbo and I just want to see a future again. It is complex because I don't even know what I want it to look like beyond very broad terms. But I know that limbo is not as close as I can get to contentment anymore. And I know that the future involves me letting go of painful things and situations that are better left in the past.
On New Year's eve my kids and I sat around the kitchen island and I explained to them about New Year's resolutions. We must have made 50 resolutions between the three of us, followed by a toast. My kids are expert "toasters" and almost every time the three of us go out to eat alone we start our meal with a toast. I always like to hear what they come up with. I don't think we have ever gone one time without one of the first toasts being "to daddy" followed by 3 clinks and a sip.
I am not usually a big New Year's Resolution maker but I have been thinking a lot recently about what kind of mother I am right now to my kids. It is so weird to me because 90% of the time I feel like the worst mother ever....not giving my kids enough of my time...choosing my own household chores instead of playing with them....not having enough PATIENCE with them (a big downfall of mine).....expecting too much of them in terms of what they should/should not be able to do, etc etc and yet I get emails and comments from people about "what a great mother" I am. Every time I read that I feel like a big phoney and I think "yeah right". These thoughts are combined with the stark realization that my chidren are getting to be "regular kids" now and not little little kids and time is moving by that I will not get back. That is scarey.
My personality is that of a planner. I am always planning, preparing, organizing something. I am proud that I am that way in many regards. It is why we had life insurance, and why we didn't suffer major financial crisis when Joe died. Our lives would have been strikingly different had I not planned in that regard. Left to Joe it would not have happened. He was NOT a planner of the future. He was a live in the moment kind of guy. His zest for life and ability to live in the moment goes b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l-l-y with being a kid. It was his secret to being such a great father, and our differing personalities was part of what made our marriage work.
I want to be more like Joe in some ways. I need to stop everything else and join my kids in what they are doing. Soon they'll be older and won't even want me around. I don't want to miss these years any more than I already have.
So I guess my resolution is to STOP all MY stuff and do more with my kids. To get less frustrated with them and exhibit more patience. AND to try to make plans for my future, but after they go to bed. Is that possible? The question is, who is going to do the laundry?