At 11:53 in the morning, the sun has dipped low enough in the sky to almost shine directly into the kitchen, bouncing bright ball on the rippled metal roof, shining into this room, shining into my heart.
Holidays really rip at me, in a way I never could have understood as a child. I couldn't understand the complaining and moaning and loneliness inherent in the holiday season... I loved them. All the excitement and tradition suit me well.
This year, I find myself feeling a bit broken hearted.
In Craftsbury, we had this whole week off from school, which allowed me to take off with the kids, see who needed seeing, and head home. We could fit in a Christmas and Thanksgiving all at once. A few birthdays, too. And use it as the head of a winter-settling-in; the end of seasonal migration, if you will. We could get home, have a home Thanksgiving, and crochet ourselves into a warm winter season ahead. In the trouse, we'd load up the stove, and it never went out again until March.
Instead, the kiddos only had today to get ready to go, to clean, to organize their lives for the season ahead, to see friends, to cook, to do what they need to do. There is only a tiny bit of time for extended family, and we had to pick whom to see. We've scheduled our holidays as if we are putting together a paint-by-numbers masterpiece that excludes emotion by definition. This year here. That year there. Did we leave out a family? A Sibling? Friends??
And my big big boy, who seems so ready to rip away from me a bit, crumpled, his soul burning in the family-centric holiday season, the warmth hurting rather than soothing, as he finds himself torn between families. His heart broken, unable to express it except to say he needs to know he was born in love, and that love abides, even in a broken bond.
And that, my dears, brings me to tears. That brings me back to the burning pain of adoption, and attachment, and fear of screwing up. Guess what?? I screwed up!
Reading an article where Erica Jong railed against attachment parenting, I realized that our Western definition of attachment is weird and stilted. Liberated women and feminism and mothering and attachment and individuality and community and family should not be so narrowly defined, so antithetical to one another. Combine this with all the coverage the "family and marriage" Pew Study are getting, and I find myself feeling irritated and angry. Family is as family does.
And gratitude for what we have, and who we chose to have, should be top of our lists from this season.
So here it is: my heartfelt gratitude. For family. For friends. For life.
I'm even grateful for the finger marks and dog nose smudges on the sliding glass door.
And oddly, as we look ahead to the next year, I find myself grinning as we plan and collaborate and scheme about the porch/playroom in the works. We'll be knocking out the wall to the art room, which sort of makes me sad, except that I guess we'll have space in the playroom to store art supplies anyway. And why not? What better use of that space than to fill the air in our house with the joy of playing kids, games, movies, and a view of this gorgeous valley!!