For my first twenty-nine Christmases, I thought Christmas was good. I loved the music, the decorations, the gifts, the family time. It was Christmas. It was fine.
On my thirtieth Christmas, suddenly there was this little baby of my own, and not just a baby, but a baby boy. He changed everything. I understood it. The mystery, the miracle, the salvation. I felt joy at Christmas like I had never felt before. I knew love at Christmas like I had never felt before.
But along with all that joy and love came the realization: “Oh, shit. There is so much more to this life than I could have ever imagined," and I knew. I knew I had made a few very serious mistakes and I had no idea how to fix them.
The next nine Christmases I was ok. I had joy. I had love. I also had fear and resentment. I still didn’t know how to fix it. I did the best I knew how to do.
I started my divorce proceedings a few weeks before my fortieth Christmas. Just prior to my forty-first Christmas, my parents’ home burned down in the Nunn Fire in Sonoma county. I was sure I’d never know that Christmas joy again. I just couldn’t bring myself to feel it.
A week or so ago Simon said, “MOM. Let’s put out the Christmas stuff NOW!” and there it was, my friends. The joy. Back like a firecracker. Because I’m here, they are here, and the great mystery is starting; the little baby is going to be born in the manger, and he will save us all. We put out all the Christmas stuff today, a full week before Thanksgiving, and we did it with an abundance of joy and love. It's back. It's good.
My forty-second Christmas will be my first Christmas away from my boys. It will also be my first Christmas where I really feel like I’m on my way to being the woman I am meant to be. There are a lot of days for us to be together between now and December 25, and I plan to enjoy them all. It's all a part of our story and it's all exactly as it should be.
So if you just can’t feel it, or if you don’t know how to fix it, I want you to know, that’s okay. It will come, or it will come back. It took a lot of people loving me, a few people that I thought loved me, and a whole lot of heartbreak to bring it back. All those cracks in my heart are exactly where the light shines in. Merry Christmas, my friends, I love you.