I was feeling weak last night - Wednesday December 28th.
Don't get me wrong; the holidays have been wonderful, a complete delight. This being, after all, the first Christmas we had to celebrate without Dad. It was hard, strange, new...but still quite magical. A while back it was decided that mom would not host the family this year, as we wanted to "mix things up" this go round, so my sis Bronwyn took on the task, and did so with ease. Squeezing five adults and three kids under seven years into their house built for five was a challenge at best (sleeping arrangements were reminiscent of childhood camp!). But waking up to a house full of joy, love, and pure unadulterated excitement made it all so worthwhile. The pile of gifts that arrived under the tree come Christmas morning was enough to spin the kiddies' heads off their tiny little flannel PJ'ed bodies. Santa had been quite generous. No bother that the "wake-up call" us adult folks had to endure was for 6am; with coffee and tea, and smiles galore, there was no thought of oversleeping thus missing the fun! After a leisurely round robin of gift opening ceremonies (a family tradition - everyone takes their turn!) we sat down to a yummy breakfast, followed by plenty of play time and then a huge turkey (tempeh for me!) dinner.
Christmas Eve storytime!
On our Christmas eve outing to a local holiday"lights legend" - tacky fun!
Not exactly a Christmas like any other before, but it was precisely what we all needed. Different, new, normal. The new normal.
Of course we thought often of Dad, or at least I know I did. We missed him, remembered him. Cried for him, longed for his laughter at the dinner table. We quoted him, retold his jokes, and recalled moments from holidays past. But mostly, we just loved him. And felt his presence, raising a glass in his name, for he was there, as far as I could tell, that little Pearson spark in all of us.
So, it turned out to be a magical Christmas afterall, as we got to spend it with those we love; all healthy, happy and bright.
Now back to Wednesday. By this point I was at mom's house, having departed from my sisters early on boxing day to head to my hometown for some quality time at the old homestead.
Yes, on Wednesday I got hit. Knocked down a little. I got sad. After a long haul of fight, my mind, heart, and body gave out. Over the course of twenty minutes, two events, and a momentary lapse of sanity, I fell from grace, branches and twigs smacking me in the face all the way to the ground. I was on the floor, or more literally, the bed, feeling hopeless. And really crying.
It only lasted a few minutes, however. Somehow, miraculously, I came out of it fast, and OKAY. I had quickly cycled through the standard icky ego feelings of guilt, fear, embarrassment, resentment, grief, and pain; felt sick to my stomach and heaved in sorrow...but I KNEW I was going to be fine, that I would get by, no matter what. I was okay, right now, right here, and nothing could change that. Even while dealing with the usual shame I feel about certain interactions with my family, having just had one of those minutes before...even with having just heard some heartbreaking news...even with my sudden spiraling into a dark place of grief over my father's absence...I stopped the tears, and managed to pick myself up. Of course, a perfectly timed appearance and hug from my mommy certainly helped (how do they DO that? Show up at JUST the right moment???). And I think Dad gave me a pretty special gift of strength that day to boot.
Yes, on Wednesday, I learned that I really did have some control. I just let my heart and spirit steer me on. Pretty neat-o.
Us Pearsons are a strong breed when we need to be. Just look at my mom, sisters, Aunts, Uncles, and Grandma. If I even began to tell you their stories, you would hands down agree. We DO deal with whatever the universe shuffles for us from the deck of cards called life. And everyday, we do it with a little bit more grace than the day before. Yes, we got through this Christmas, the one "they said" would be the worst. And we did it mindfully, beautifully, and blissfully.
After all, my Daddy didn't raise no fools. And he didn't raise no wussies neither.