December 25, 2012

Christmas and Miracles

Christmas at our house might have looked comfortably bland on this gray and rainy day in Tennessippi,   but that is good enough for me.  I truly prefer this to the family drama of my childhood, where expectations for the holiday were usually unreasonable.

I rarely miss a chance to send cards and gifts to my brother and his family, nor my mom and dad. I didn't miss the chance this year either, even though things are weird in my family. I know my brother has moved, and that my parents may not know their new location. I do, but I hate secrets. I need to let my brother speak truth to my parents on HIS terms. (Help me, oh God.)

I work around the oddness, and continue to give the honesty and love that I can. I give some presents, too, modest ones,  because it makes me feel good about the world. I continue to be amazed and grateful whenever family members beat me at the Christmas delivery game.  Whatever we  receive at my house gets stowed in my good memory bank. For me, looking for the good, pushes out bad emotions.   Funny this was even true the year DH and I got a bank-gifted cookbook from my mom rummaged from her musty storage room. That book was full of meat recipes, during a time that I was a vegetarian. Still,  I found a recipe I treasured for a number of years. Plus a lot of laughs.  (Humor Power is my favorite Higher Power, always makes the medicine of life go down more easily).

Just two years ago, I started out December fresh from a psychiatric stay. That Christmas was made more rough, by the fact that my mom and I were estranged. I might just have taken a break from presents to family that year. I really CAN'T remember, and that is a gift in itself. I simply recall celebrating my being "home for the holidays," with my DH and DS, and not in hospital.

The potential for a relapse is always with me, just as the potential for ugliness with my family of origin is always possible.

I was thinking to call my mom yesterday, because I knew I was in a good place with myself and at peace with who she is.  She beat me to the call, on this auspicious day, Christmas Eve! (Christmas Eve is the high point of my family's German Lutheran celebration.)

The call with my mom was one I had always hoped for. Where there would be a joke, not at my expense, nor anyone else's. I'd always wanted to be able to listen dispassionately to my mom telling her version of the truth, even if I disagreed. I admit I rolled my eyes, but was grateful for it being a phone call where this is invisible.   I actully listened to her version, without getting angry.   When she was done,  I shared my perspective, in words she could actually listen to.

What happened to the demons and the ugliness we could have activated?  I guess we have made peace with them, each of us in our own way. I have grown more honest, yet much more aware of what I am choosing not to say. She seems to have grown more respectful of my feelings.   Yesterday I realize that I tell my truth in a rather bald way. In speech my words are more blunt thanI would do in writing, but I was able to soften my voice, I think.  Yesterday, I realized mom gets that I will not be the brunt of her derisive words. I can and will hang up, gently, as soon as I see her raise her weapon to "set her sights" on me as her target.

At times like this, I recall our Promise that says , "We intuitively know how to handle what  use to baffle us."   Following a newly developed intuition, yesterday I had no expectations for mom's and my conversation. Nor for her to have a good conversation with DH, when I volunteered him to talk with her.  Interestingly, my mom told DH he was her favorite son-in-law. Hmmm... He happens to be her ONLY s-i-l. Good enough for us!

That is nothing short of miracle for me. Especially at this expectation-fraught time of year.

I send my best wishes to all for a meaningful season as we celebrate return of lengthening days, miracle candles and births!


  1. It sounds as if you are in a good place this December. Glad that there was little drama. I like the idea of Keeping it Simple at Christmas. I need to catch up on your blog, Smitty.

  2. Hi
    This post struck a chord with me too - there has been dissonance in my close family this Christmas and it has been playing on my mind. Following recent events, I had more or less decided to cut a very close tie, one that has been painful for some time. The person concerned very clearly wants to be free of me, and after days and days of thought I came to the conclusion that it would be better for both of us if I finally let this happen. However, after reading your blog post I am resolved to continue to be kind, and honest, and available for if and when that person chooses to reconnect, while maintaining my own integrity. So, no cut ties - thanks to you! Louise x

  3. Thanks for sharing your miracle!


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~