Christmas is coming, and this one is different from every other Christmas I've ever known.
My Grandma loved Christmas. She was the kind of hostess - all year round - who never minded the fuss and preparation that went into having a massive number of guests in her home. In fact, as my family would pile in at the Holidays, I'd hang out in the kitchen with her and help her and she just enjoyed it so much. (I love my Mother tremendosly, but she does NOT enjoy the hostessing...she gets pretty stressed!)
As a musician, my Grandma adored the lush, bright, sentimental and spiritual variety of songs that surround this Holiday. As a devoted Christian (no, not the fanatical, judgmental sort...more the sincere, well-versed, accepting, forgiving, unwaivering sort) she truly enjoyed celebrating the Glory of Christ's birth. And of course, any reason to gather family...she was all about Christmas.
So it only stands to reason that the giant sinking feeling - which I've really been working to keep at bay - is here, cropping up at moments when it really shouldn't. Take last night for example...folding laundry is not sad, is it? No! But there I am in the laundry room, crying so hard that I had to sit down. Sobbing instead of folding. Of course, I let it last only for a minute because I know what my Grandma would say about those tears. And I know that crying doesn't help a thing. I just wish she were here.
Amidst all of that, this Christmas is different in a GREAT way because I'm now engaged to Steinvic and while our relationship is still the same incredible, solid, fun, deep, meaningful bond we've always shared, it does feel even more exciting to know that we're officially committed to spending our lives together. It's romantic! It's reassuring. It feels extra-permanent and I haven't really had any of that in my lifetime.
Because Steinvic loves me, I have so much: a wonderful man who really wants my happiness, who makes me want to be a better version of myself, who really thinks I'm pretty cool just as I am (it's shocking!) And a young man who says he couldn't be happier about me being his Step Mom...that he wouldn't want anyone else in the world to play that role. (How amazing is it to hear someone voluntarily say that and know he means it!?) A huge family full of brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and a Mother-in-Law-to-be who is so very dear. I finally have a big, beautiful family and it's full of some of the best people I know. And to think that just maybe, next Christmas, Steinvic and I won't be doing all of our Holiday preparations in separate cities, but together! In the same home! So, it's an incredibly joyful time.
In short, I'm a mess. I am happier than I've ever been. With an undercurrent of extreme sadness as a bonus! Go figure...
All the while, I've been in full-force Elf Mode. Busy and loving it! I've made my specialty felt mice for a few fantastic folks, painted some pictures upon request, painted a lovely jewlery box for a dear friend's daughter (Hello, J!), and was even asked to write a few Christmas letters as an Elf - a major honor that I hope to repeat for those precious kids every year. I've been shopping and creating and cooking and wrapping and humming and enjoying every little detail...all the things that make this season just a little nicer.
And I think I may have just found my Grandma in this Christmas after all...