I LOVE this time of the year.
Starting with Thanksgiving, that day of family and food and comfort, and on through New Years, a day to look forward with promise and hope.
The whole season is filled with love, for family and friends and traditions. The house is filled with warmth and hugs will the snow falls outside (hopefully).
This year things are different. I’m pulling my family tighter, holding on in a large, snug embrace. Because this year’s going to be small — full of memories and hope for the future.
Last Christmas we thought we got the greatest gift. It seemed my mom had kicked cancer, or at least put it into remission for awhile. But by the end of January it was clear that it had won, hiding out in small places, making it impossible for her to fight back. She was gone by the end of March.
We didn’t get one more Christmas.
Just days before Christmas this year, my husband is going to have surgery to correct issues that occurred after surgery last summer. He may or may not be home for Christmas, so we may or may not be spending some of Christmas day in a hospital room.
Earlier this month we had to say good-bye to our dog, Gigi.
It’s been a horrible year for our family. And that’s not looking around at the world at large, where I know people are hurting and angry.
This morning I was looking at pictures, and came across this one. It’s always been one of my old favorites, one that epitomizes motherhood, and reminds me of my mom.
Buckle up, she’s saying, as she buckles my shoe. She’s making sure I’m ready for a Christmas party. But this could have been any day of her life with me, and after me.
I feel like she was constantly teaching me these life lessons:
“Buckle up Buttercup. Life is hard sometimes. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you have to eat shit and smile (especially if you’re a woman). Sometimes life kicks you in the gut, and you still have to get up and go.
So be ready.
But sometimes life is wonderful and beautiful. You have to take the crap and the ugly, the loss and the tears, to get to that beautiful. Sometimes you eat shit, but sometimes you get to eat cream filled cupcakes.
So live for those moments. Take the bad, because it makes you stronger. But enjoy the good. Laugh with friends. Have fun. Soak in the love. Hold onto it, and it will carry you through the bad.”
Even though she didn’t say these words, she could have. And she’s right.
Yes, this year sucked for our family. But there were some good moments, and I’m going to attempt to concentrate on those:
- Both my girls transitioned well to new schools (one to high school, the other to middle school). Both are flourishing in bigger environments.
- My older daughter came back stronger from her first real injury.
- My younger daughter is blossoming as a student and a reader.
- My husband’s business is growing and thriving. He has a great sidekick that helps him with his work, and he’s pretty happy (other than the surgery crap).
- I read some great books and I’ve been lucky to receive some great advance copies.
- We have a house full of love and laughter. We’re busy and happy and love each other.
- We have some good friends that helped us through this horrible year.
So I’m look at this picture this Christmas and buckle up, knowing that life is going to get better. I’m going to hold my family close and tight. We’re going to laugh and cheer and be grateful when surgery goes well for my husband. And we’re going to march into 2018 and take it as it comes. What else can we do?
I’m going to channel my mom and everything she’s taught me. Yes, life can suck at times. But it can also be wonderful and beautiful. And those are times that make life worth this whole ride.
So buckle up and enjoy the ride.