Life got in the way of blogging around the holidays. I wanted to share with my readers about my adjustment in the work force again and trying to get ready for the holidays. I wanted to write about how happy I have been at my new job, learning family law, working with a great attorney and fabulous co-workers. Yes, I am writing this from the lens of “new to the job”, but it feels like a very good fit. Time will tell, but understand that recent events in my life, make me appreciate the “here and now”, because as my father is fond of saying, “tomorrow is not guaranteed”. With that in mind, I appreciate the opportunity for as long as I have it.
December came with a get -together with old friends, a couple of Christmas parties and a trip to Jacksonville to spend Christmas with my parents and my youngest daughter and her godson. Even though, I was not going to be home for the holidays, I still wanted to dress the house up in holiday decorations put the tree and lights up. Getting my husband motivated enough to do this, is always a process, since he does not “do” holidays, but our agreement, is he just has to get out the totes, I do the rest. The only thing is I forgot how much work it was to decorate the house, especially, now that I am back working. It took two weeks, but I got the house finished, enjoyed it for two weeks and then was gone to Florida.
The payoff, after we survived the parking lot nightmare that was our trip on I-95 from home to Jacksonville, was seeing how much improved my mom is doing, and how happy my dad is, now that she is doing better. My parents weren’t even home when we got there in Jacksonville, which further added to my husband’s irritation after spending almost two extra hours on the total trip because of the holiday traffic. So the payoff was not immediate, only getting there and being able to get out of the car after 10 hours on the road. The payoff came the next day. That first night, we visited with Megan and tried to get the outside lights to work. My dad had left detailed instructions, but we failed to find the reset switch to get the lights on after they had been kicked off. Now, a month later, it has become one of the things we all reminisce about when we talk about this last Christmas… how Megan and I could not figure out how to get the back yard holiday lights on and how we didn’t call my dad, because neither one of us wanted to admit we couldn’t figure it out. We just broke out a bottle of wine and toasted being together for the holidays, for the first time in years.
The bonus, was Megan’s godson, Isaia. I was trying to remember when we last had a child in the house for the holidays. Too many years . The price of being a long distance Grandmother. Which may explain why we all were touched by his anticipation. He would hang out with Chester, while he played on-line poker and watched River Monsters. He got up from a nap on Christmas Eve and asked my mom if she wanted to dance, when he heard music playing on her CD player. He invited my Dad to watch cartoons with him, moving over on the chaise lounge to give him space. He asked to help set the table for meals. Later that night, He and Megan made cookies. He helped decorate the baked cookies, then tested one to make sure they were “good”. Then helped Megan put out the plate of cookies and milk for Santa. He also helped write the note to Santa so he wouldn’t miss the treat. He also, had to make sure the fireplace was big enough for Santa to get through. All our family rituals of the holiday coming full circle with Megan’s godson. The next morning, Isaia woke up to presents Santa left under the tree. It was a treat for us, not just to see his excitement, but for me,it reinforced, what I have always felt, that Christmas is for the kids. We all watched as he opened presents, getting excited over everything, bit and small. It made our holiday memorable, sharing it with this little guy.
With the holiday trip a success (not counting the beginning) and the holidays a wrap, the end of year arrived with an invitation to an end of year party with family and one with friends. I can’t remember us being this social, but a combination of the new judo dojo Chester volunteers at, the golf tournament and my work in local politics, all raised our profile to the point, we now have a semblance of a social life. Not a bad thing, but something that required some management, since by the end of this particular year, Chester was feeling the effects of all the exposure. I have started a new blog “My PTSD Vet” to have a continuing conversation about Chester’s struggles (past and current), my observations, and his insights as he works to find a balance to stay engaged in everyday life, without compromising the gains he has made. He has worked harder than he gives himself credit for. For us to go to two parties in one night, was significant. We didn’t stay long at either party, but at the end of the second gathering, our hosts built a huge bonfire.
Of particular significance to me, the bonfire represented an end of the year as we knew it, and the beginning of the new year. The riff between the past and the future was permanent in a couple of relationships we both had. We had lost a dear friend in the first half of the year that we have still not recovered from. I drove my parents to Texas, and reunited with family I had not seen in years, renewing the ties that bind. I made memories with my kids and grand kids that I cherish more than I will could ever say. I worked behind the scenes on a local election and was amazed at the tenacity of pure will. My status as unemployed ended, and was humbled by that process. The Nation reelected the President, after a particular contentious election, reinforcing my belief in our better angels. I know without a doubt, that I love my husband more today, because of this journey we have taken on together, this journey called Life.