Tonight I sit in the nearly-dark glow of our new Christmas tree, listening to the sounds of the firstborn child finishing her bedtime ablations, waiting for the second born to fall asleep to the sounds of his audio book. I’ve just double checked that number 3 and 4 care already asleep and I’ve turned their night lights out and pulled their blankets up again. Of course the husband is snoring soundly in bed. He will wake up when all the children are tucked in and I sneak back into our bed. Then he will hold me and whisper-talk with me and rub my back and make sure I too am safe and warm.
We live such good lives.
And, in our own, sometimes invisible ways, such complex ones.
Today we skipped the mountains for the community college tree lot. It’s the first time in many years we have such a “normal” tree. It’s perfectly cut, perfectly shaped, and thanks to our two bigs, perfectly decorated (they cleverly tricked the two littles into adding all their ornaments on the far side of the tree that faces the outdoor window.) I gave a big sigh when I saw it. Partly with relief and gratitude and partly with sadness. Cause normal isn’t really our thing. But this year our thing is whatever works with our new family of six.
There were some stern talks today. Mine, of course. Because sometimes grace stretches thin and anger grows big and even after I give myself a time out I still end up saying things I wish I hadn’t. In the still reflection of my self-enforced quiet I was surprised to discover that sometimes I miss our old normal. Before everything had to be repeated in two languages. Before any change of plans necessitated extreme negotiations. Before every meal had to be noodles.
I remind myself that our family of four lived eleven beautiful years together before these last two gifts joined us. That making a family takes time even if everyone’s arrived already. That just like it’s good to celebrate who we are now, it’s also okay to grieve what was, and to miss it too sometimes.
Mid afternoon I instate quiet time because I am afraid I will lose my peace if I do not and David and I curl up together and I whisper what I’ve learned, “sometimes I miss our quiet little family of four” and David whispers back “you mean our BORING little dry-white-toast family of four” and I giggle loud into the silence and more grace stirs within me.
What is normal anyway.