For a few days last week, I felt sort of melancholy. There was no good reason that I could find, just generally gloomy. Maybe it was because we were busy and going in different directions? Maybe it was because anxieties that I lately have been managing to check were rearing their ugliness again? Adam suggested maybe it was the weather? Not as sunny?
I didn't know.
Then one afternoon I was talking to Olivia on the phone. She asked me how I was and I supplied the automatic "fine" and then we talked some more and then I told her I wasn't really fine and then I started talking and it all became clear and I cried and cried.
It's the nostalgia!
I have been feeling a loss and I blame Christmas. I missed all my friends when I addressed Christmas cards. Then there's my darn growing children. The Christmas bears used to get loved and dragged all over the house. The Christmas books used to get read. We'd snuggle on the couch and read one every night. The chocolate advent calendars used to be the highlight of everyone's day. Now one hopefully made it to Virginia. (I won't know until I hear from Braeden.) Emma's is still in the shrink wrap. Mark at least has had a piece of chocolate. The Nativity sets used to get played with, especially The Little People one. Pieces would get rearranged multiple times a day.
Now? Everything is in order. Always. And while I can see the value in that (really I can!), it also makes me a little sad. I miss my kids. They're busy or gone or too big to play with bears and I miss all of that.
I miss Braeden. My friend and former college roommate, Erin, sent me a poem about having a missionary son gone at Christmas time and it made me cry. Then I sent it to some of my friends that are missionary mothers and that made me cry too because I read it again.
And they texted me that it had made them cry.
I was listening to Christmas music while setting the table and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas was playing. "Next year all our troubles will be miles away." "Someday soon we all will be together."
Next year, if everything goes as planned, my college kids will be 30 minutes away. It will be so nice. They'll be busy and have lives of their own but I also think they'll come home and fill the house with Christmas. (I am not above bribing them if necessary.)
I would give up all the red in my house to hear Braeden's booming laughter.
(And I love all the red in my house!)
So anyway. Figuring out why I was feeling blue actually helped me feel better. Then I talked to Marianne. I told her and she said that she herself had had a meltdown the night before. Robert, blessed and good man that he is, donated a kidney to our uncle who is diabetic. Marianne was feeling all the associated stress from his recovery and being away from her kids. She said it was 11:00 at night and she didn't think anyone would be awake but she needed to talk to someone. Then she remembered that Desi, the college freshman, would be awake!
She said she called Desi and they talked and Desi made her feel better. She said, "Desi's like my friend now."
And that is the best possible news.
Friday I met Desi in Orem and we drove to Salt Lake together. We met up with Marianne and shopped for a snazzy suit for Desi (she's taking a snazzy New York trip in the spring). It was fun just like shopping with Marianne has always been fun. Emma was going to pick Mark up from school so I was footloose and fancy free.
Walking down the mall, I saw a mother struggling with a toddler who was arching her back and screaming and resisting the stroller.
At that moment, walking along, laughing and chatting and feeling carefree with Marianne and Desi, I for sure didn't miss having little kids.
I wore my glasses which are pretty similar to Marianne's. It made us look even more alike. At one point, Desi was in the dressing room and Marianne pointed out we were standing the same and tapping the same foot in time to the music.
We struck black suit gold and then went to the hospital to visit Robert. He is amazing. The doctor came in to check on him and she looked at me and then at Marianne and then back at me and said, "You two must be related."
So things change. Kids grow up and there's not the snuggling up with Christmas stories time every night. They also get to be more entertaining. I love just talking to those interesting, smart and funny kids (and that's both my own kids and my nieces and nephews).
Some things don't change.
Marianne and I still look a lot alike. Especially in our glasses.
These goofballs helped decorate the tree last night.
They kept things lively.
And then Adam read us a Christmas story.
Life is good.