I write one post a week and the most difficult words to write are the four to six in the title. Last weekend, while enjoying a rare theme park date with my husband, the title came first.
I’ve been a mom for more than forty-two years. Motherhood was my first job with benefits and it’s a great gig. I’m quite sure that I’m not the first woman to say that it is the most difficult, yet most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
I love that God saw fit to give me girls. (Without them, I would have zero fashion sense.) Now that they have children and we have mothering in common and I think they even get me sometimes. At my age, when I look into a mirror I see my mother’s face…and I am shocked! But I look into the faces of my daughters and they reflect my life.
The Osborne family of Arkansas donated a bunch of lights to Walt Disney World after their neighbors got in an uproar over the display at their home. Disney took those lights to Hollywood Studios and in true form turned them into something magical. The magic happens when you turn the corner from the back lot onto the Streets of America and see millions of dancing lights, Christmas music filling the air and a mass of people absolutely in awe and full of Christmas cheer. I’ve taken that walk with my children and grandchildren. We’ve danced together in the streets to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas tree” and I’ve kissed my sweet husband as we sang “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. I’ve stood in awe of the beauty of the nativity. If that display were Sodom and Gomorrah I would be a pillar of salt because I can never just walk away without glancing back and wishing I could stay a little longer.
They claim this is the last year – I doubt it. They may relocate it, but I digress. Just in case, I desperately wanted walk under those lights one more time, to relive the memories my heart cherishes; the selective memories that don’t include the tired children, the grumpy parents and the complete absence of any place to stop and rest.
How do you feel about questions like “What do you want for Christmas?”? I detest them. Answering always makes me feel greedy, and typically I can’t think of a thing. To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a funk this Christmas season and what I secretly want is Christmas like it used to be. Kids opening presents, food and lots of family. Waking up to an empty house and waiting until almost new years to have everyone in one place is the new normal. And it is way better than some people’s normal…I know that well.
Because she works for the mouse and she makes magic happen on a daily basis, but mostly because she loves me, my sister gave us tickets to see the lights one more time.
My hubby has something called severe spinal stenosis. For a least three years, he’s had issues with standing in one spot for more than a few minutes; for the last year, the pain is excruciating when he walks even short distances. He wanted to go with me (insert emoji of joy mixed with angst). After agreeing on the limitations his current health conditions impose, we decided to make a day of it – a sort of mini vaca before he has spinal surgery early next year.
The inspiration for the title came as, throughout the day, text messages from our daughters popped up on both of our phones. “Get a wheelchair for Dad” “You don’t have to wait in line, Dad. Get a wheelchair. Do it for Mom…you want to be able to make it to see the lights – this means a lot to her!” “I hope you are taking it easy, Dad.”
My greatest gift these days is their love and care for us. They know how we love one another. They’ve seen how we prop one another up and push through hard things for one another. In the midst of their busy days they took time to urge us to take care of each other. We didn’t get a wheelchair, but we stopped when he needed to. He carefully managed his pain and we had a wonderful day.
The way that our children love us is touching. I’m especially moved by how they care for their dad. Families are dynamic and I know that God has scattered ours a bit more than this mom would like. But the real test of family is how we care for one another. Nothing is sweeter than watching your children, though separated by 400 miles, rally a joint campaign to ensure that their sentimental fool of a mom remembers their dad’s limitations. They were with us and they were looking out for us.
This Christmas, perhaps the greatest give you can give won’t require wrapping. Who needs to know you are with them and are looking out for them as we enter the new year?
Merry Christmas, friends! May the peace of Christ fill your hearts and homes this Christmas.