Carols with PoponI hope yours was merry too...
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Some of my most vivid and wonderful memories from childhood are from Santa. Lying in my bed on Christmas Eve. Straining hard to hear noises on the roof, a rumbling in the chimney. My heart beating so fast with excitement and anticipation that I could not force myself into slumber, even though I knew I must if Santa was going to come. I remember when the veil began to slip, and I started asking questions about Santa. My Mom strove valiantly to keep my belief alive, and I believed long after many of my peers had fallen to the way side. There wasn't an exact moment I knew he wasn't real, but instead of being sad or angry or questioning God (as many parents warn me my children will do one day), I felt proud--like I was one step closer to the adult world. I joined forces with Mom, curbing questions and pretending that I believed so that my sisters could still wait breathlessly on Christmas Eve. Slowly, one by one, each sister joined the grown-up team, and even when my baby sister joined us, we couldn't bear to let go of the game. I don't ever remember Mom voicing the fact that she was indeed, Chris Kringle. Even as a married woman, I was still coming down the stairs to see what Santa had brought, and it would have been a sacrilege in our house to breathe a word to the contrary.
So, do I rob my children of these memories? Do I think that I am going to hinder my child's salvation or my tender relationship with them, because I play make-believe with gusto? Really look at what you know to be true about your own parents...How much of it hinges on their attitude towards Santa Claus? Isn't it more about how they lived their life before you every single day? And, more than anything else, there is only one very narrow window in life when a person has the ability to truly believe in magic. I could not know that I squelched that opportunity for my child. It's too precious. It's too valuable, because it's the footprint that's been left in my heart--of that time when magic was real--that brings color and beauty to stories I read even now.
I love you friends who have opted to leave Santa in the pretend realm, and I do respect your reasoning, even if I don't agree with it.
(Just so we're clear and I don't get any "Jesus is the reason for the season" blog comments, we WHOLE-HEARTEDLY believe that over here, and I think it is a travesty to let anything, including Santa, overshadow that. I'm just saying I think there's room for the big guy in red as well.)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
On a much more serious note, in the same email that my friend Lauren told me about this website, she also asked if I would tell you about Jenny's Light . This organization began a year ago, when a Mom, just like you and me, was suffering from Postpartum Depression and took her own life and the life of her newborn son. The Mom's name was Jenny. Her husband, Chip, was in residency with Jeremiah. Jenny was only a couple of weeks ahead of me...she carrying Graham while I was carrying Mary Aplin. She and Graham both died on the same day as Mom...December 19th. I was in such shock about Mom that I could hardly register what had happened to them. There were weeks where I could not look at Mary Aplin's smile, almost the exact same age as Graham, without feeling my insides turn over--knowing what Jenny and Chip were missing. When I moved back to Birmingham, a week after Mom, Jenny, and Graham's passing, I began to sift through the piles of mail and found Graham's birth announcement. I haven't posted about this before, mainly because it didn't feel like my story to tell, but Jenny's Light is trying to raise money and spread awareness for other Mom's, like us, who might need help but don't know how to find it. Please check the website out, and give if your heart feels inclined.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
After soaking in rose petals and lavender oils in my bath by the fire, and re-reading some choice passages of the eighteenth century love story I've just finished, it's time to dress. This is a crucial step, as one must feel beautiful to truly enjoy a day. I'm going to wear a calico dress, cream with tiny pink and blue flowers scattered intermittently across the soft fabric. Cotton lace accents the borders of the dress and my whole ensemble looks as though Elizabeth Bennett just took it off. It won't, however, actually be an antique dress, because I don't want to spend the day fussing over keeping it perfectly preserved. Once I'm dressed, feeling every bit the Victorian woman, I'll tiptoe down the rutted and worn stairs of our old English manor house and smell breakfast being prepared in the kitchen. A combination of scones baking, eggs poaching, Hollandaise sauce simmering, Canadian bacon frying, and wood burning entices my senses and draws me to the kitchen where I find a plump cook bending her bonnet-covered head over a bowl as she scoops out the Devonshire cream she'll be serving with our breakfast.
Old school Christmas music crackling on the record player...check!Three mugs of hot chocolate with extra whipping cream...check!One little urchin who is up way too late for Christmas tree decoration...
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Almost every time we saw her over the first two years of Pace's life, she had a gift for her. I can see her, standing at my door, her face in a big grin and her hands behind her back, gripping the surprise she was about to lay in my lap. She loved to see little Pace, wearing sweet outfits...that she knew I couldn't afford. She loved to see her playing with the toy she had labored over picking out. She just loved joy, and that was what gift giving brought her. Since she has been gone, I discovered a few gifts she had bought for Pace and stored away in a closet for the time when they would fit her. It has been a way I've kept her alive with Pace...pulling a gift from the closet and saying, "You know who got this for you?!!!" and then hearing her squeal, "Bebe!!" Or, as I dress Mary Aplin in all the sweet little dresses that used to be Pace's and saying, "Pace, Bebe bought this for you when you were a little baby, and look, now Mary Aplin gets to wear her love too."
The dress that Pace is wearing in these pictures is the last gift from the closet... She wore it to church on Sunday and then I let her wear it while we both cuddled up in my bed for her nap. As I lay there and felt her soft, warm body crumpled up next to mine, as I watched her rosebud lips pursed in slumber and heavy lashes laying on her cheek, as I looked at this little pink dress draping her now 3-year-old body, it made me hurt to think that Mom would never get to see what this present looked like on her little Pace. But, it gave me joy to think of her eyes and her hands, pouring over all the dresses in the store until she decided on this one and to imagine the warmth of her hands just having left the fabric. I felt a peace come over me that she can see how Pace has grown and how sweet she looks in her present.
Happy birthday Mom...
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Oh how the sugar and coffee brought joy and energy to my morning! Then, I did the only thing one can do with two sugar-loaded, sticky children--I put them in here:
While they were playing happily in there, I did a little of this (can you tell I'm sitting on the commode...but don't worry the lid is down):And my favorite verse was this: In case you couldn't read that, it's John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
I was enjoying my little devotion so much that the girls soaked a little longer than normal--leaving twenty tiny fingers and twenty tiny toes looking a lot like this:So, we dried off and dressed in some comfy, cozy outfits:
Because the rest of our Saturday held this--Christmas decorations (I know it's too early. I know you are supposed to wait until after Thanksgiving. But I know I'm about to go out of town and won't be back until after turkey day. And then there are blogs like this, from my friend Kellie, who have made me feel like I'm behind if it's the day after Halloween and I haven't even taken the first step to prepare for Christmas :))!!!! Are you all impressed by the sheer organization? Kellie, I know you're horrified and want to come over and help me make things right :)
Anyway, all those decorations had to be carried up from here--the scary crematorium (Our house used to burn coal before it had central heat and air, and this was the coal room. I lovingly named it the Crematorium long ago--feeling sure that people must have died in there since it is so frightful.)And then all those decorations had to travel up these, by way of my sorry arms and legs:Jeremiah did manage to make it home sometime during that hub-bub, but he looked like this:
After spending all night in the OR fixing some crack-heads (literally) who were running from the cops and ended up having a head-on collision with them. SO all he wanted to do was get in here:
We let him. Lord knows he needed it, and we were having a pretty nice little Saturday all on our own.