‘Twas the night before the night

photo 1‘Twas the night before the night
Head bent low in the fading light
I cut all paper and ribbon in sight
Being careful to get it all just right

Anticipation starting to build up high
I went over my list and heaved a sigh
Do I have everything I need to buy?
Will anyone see how hard I try?

Weeks of worry, stress and fuss
All to make sure it’s perfect for us
Really, the whole thing is ridiculous
Let’s just take a minute to discuss

Why we rush around at such a pace
Trying to keep a super cheerful face
Like it’s some great big Christmas race
Isn’t it about time for a little grace?

So on this night before the night
As we prepare for Santa’s flight
Know my heart is shining so bright
Because I know everything is alright

His royal birth the reason I feel so tall
Sacrifice made so we don’t just fall
Grateful my heart has heard His call
Mercy, peace and love for all

 

 

 

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Even at Christmas, you can’t always get what you want

Putting away the laundry I noticed a note on my husband’s nightstand. It was addressed to him and included our full address and a drawn picture of a little dog next to a tree. I opened it up and this is what I saw:

dog

My heart dropped and I sat down and cried. Just a few quick tears. Then I wiped my eyes and finished the laundry.

Sometimes you have to break your kids heart and it hurts.

For years he has been asking for a dog. Lilly was our neighbors dog. She is an adorable white mutt who is in love with my boy. She used to dig under the fence and come into our yard anytime he was outside. She would cry at our door for him to come play with her. Then the neighbors had to move. They could not take Lilly with them and noticed the bond between boy and dog. They gave him Lilly.

Dad said no. He does not want a dog. Trust me, he will not budge on the subject.

So Lilly went to live with grandma. My boy loves staying at her house and seeing his dog. Almost every time he comes home from a night with his dog, he cries and tells me how much it hurts that he can’t have Lilly. The dog also seems to cry and grandma says she mopes for days after he leaves.

I have had more conversations/arguments about this dog situation with my husband than I care to admit. He is very set in his decision. It is hard and heartbreaking. He is a loving and kind man, but his inability to see how much pain this causes his boy drives me to no end.

My boy never tells daddy how he feels. He rages and cries at me about the dog situation, but never his dad.

This letter was the first time he really tried to tell daddy how he feels. I was sad and proud at the same time.

He wrote to Santa too and said all he wants for Christmas is for his dog to come home to him.

It is not happening and Christmas morning he will be sad.

But he won’t be alone.

Although this seems like a huge deal in my heart, I know there are kids out there asking for things far more precious than a dog. There are kids that ask Santa for a mom or a dad, work for their parents, food to eat or a home. Other kids ask for peace in their lives or for a family to be whole again after divorce.

All of these things break my heart. I wish I had the power to take pain away from all children.

But I can’t. I cannot even give my boy what he wants most.

dog2

But I do have the power to be positive and to not make him resent his father for his choice. I can make his Christmas special by focusing on love, togetherness and family. We are blessed in ways that my boy can’t even comprehend.

My dearest friend is facing her first Christmas since losing her mother. My grandfather is suffering from terminal cancer and is facing the reality of this being his last Christmas. A close family member is fighting to keep her family together and struggling with mental health issues. So much sadness.

Not getting a dog seems pretty small compared to all that.

So I will choose happiness and joy for Christmas. I will focus on all that is good. I will surround myself with friends and family and love up everyone I can.

It might just turn out to be a Merry Christmas after all.

Ever have that feeling?

We are seated in the dark theater listening to someone introduce the play. My boy is on my right. His nice button-up shirt and tie are hidden under the slightly stained sweatshirt he refuses to take off right now. I pull his hood off his head and he gives me a little smile. My daughter sits to my left with a rather sparkly dress on and a stuffed puppy on her lap. As the stage goes dark they both grab my hands and I feel it.

The actors take their marks and the lights come on. The harmony of voices, the costumes, the decorations and my two children’s faces proves too much for me again. The feeling starts low and creeps up into my chest. My heart beats faster and before I know it I’m slightly gasping. Then the tears start forming. I quickly let go of their hands.

“Get it together,” I tell myself. I focus on breath and push the feeling down. I am successful for the moment and watch the story unfold in front of me.

Ever since I was a little girl the theater has done this to me. I can remember seeing my first play. It was outdoors and was Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I remember having that feeling and not understanding it. I thought maybe I was scared. My heart beat quickly and the tears came. I hid my face in embarrassment. At the end of the play I silently cried happy tears and knew I was hooked.

Since then I see theater as much as I can. I have taken my kids to see productions since they could walk. The magic of the theater is so real and powerful to me. I have seen a few productions that were, to put it kindly, unfortunate. But the majority of time I am so transfixed and emotionally invested that I leave the theater changed.

The first Broadway show I saw was the traveling cast of “Aida.” I was an adult and had taken my mother-in-law for her birthday. I didn’t know what I was in for. The power of that show blew me away. I literally could not talk afterward.

Since then I have been to New York twice and seen four shows. The first show I saw was “42nd Street.” It opens with the curtain pulled up to revel only the dancers feet. I can still feel the rush of excitement at the sight and sound of that line of dancers tapping away.

For years I have tried to figure out why theater creates this feeling of “losing it” within me. Even silly plays, like “Urinetown” (which is one of my favorites), creates a swelling of emotion that I find challenging to control.

For me, I think it’s a combination of lots of things. First, not having many opportunities to just let loose and feel things fully. A dark theater is a perfect place to think and feel. Secondly, a complete awe of the talent that God has given these actors, dancers, singers, writers, costume designers and musicians. All that goes into a production is not lost on me.

This leads me back to the theater last weekend. My father and stepmother had bought our family tickets to see “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Sacramento Theater Company. The movie is a classic that many are familiar with. I had not seen it in years and had forgotten most of the storyline. My children had never seen it. So we were able to experience it without comparison or expectations – the best way in my opinion.

The production is amazing. The two leads have incredible voices and the story is just perfect for this time of year. When George Bailey yells at his family, I was shaking and had to swallow lots to calm myself. When he lost all hope on the bridge, I swear he looked right at me as he belted out the most amazing song. The tears flowed freely down my face off and on the entire play. At the finale, I sneaked a glance at my kids and was not surprised to see tears in both their eyes as well.

When we left the theater my daughter pulled me down to her. Her eyes sparkled and she smiled wide.

“The moral of that story is that you should be happy with what you have,” she says very cheerfully. “I am.”

Holding both my children’s hands we walk outside together.