I blinked and the holiday season invaded, this whole world whooshing by. I catch my mind in an ugly state of panic. The new years’ first months, which hold decision deadlines and commitments for which I must prepare, are only three children’s-gift-shopping, two Christmas-parties and a partridge-in-a-pear-tree away.
Each December, my mom pulled a worn cardboard box from the closet. She fingered through the contents, through the layers of creased gift wrap and crumpled tissue paper and last year’s holiday greeting cards. Until she found what she was seeking—a glittery Advent calendar with thumbnail sized doors opening to mini images.
I will always feel grateful for the Thanksgiving none of my adult children could come home. That happened two years ago and changed my perspective on a holiday that focuses on being with family. Not that I didn’t want my family with me. But distance separated us and, for the first time ever, none of my three children would be in Minnesota. I could choose to feel sad and alone. Or I could choose to do something that would make others happy. Something that would fit the spirit of giving and of gratitude.
Until I became a grandmother two-plus years ago, I never fully understood the joy this stage in life would bring. There is nothing quite like being a grandparent. To watch your own child parent his/her son or daughter, to feel that connection of generations is to experience a new type of love.
The legacy of faith my father left was among his greatest gifts to me. He taught me the importance of rising on Sunday morning to attend worship services followed by Sunday School. He taught me the importance of bowing my head and folding my hands before digging my fork into a meal of meat, potatoes, gravy and whatever side vegetable Mom pulled from the garden or freezer or dirt-floored cellar. He taught me the importance also of thanking God for all we had, which by today’s standards, wasn’t much.
No matter your stage in life, whether young mom or aging mom, young dad or aging dad, or not even a parent, May marks the time to celebrate motherhood.