At the Edges of Merry

The sugar cookies are made and waiting to be frosted and set out with a glass of milk for St. Nick.

I decided to fore-go the chocolate fudge, but couldn’t resist making peanut butter.  It’s setting up in the fridge.  Perhaps we will distribute it to neighbors.

The Christmas music is on, and the candles are lit.

We have friends coming over to exchange presents and eat desserts this evening. 

White Christmas and Miracle on 34th St. are standing by ready to be watched.

Husband is home, or will be after his watch.  Our little Navy family is together for another Christmas.  How wonderful!

Piles of presents are wrapped and sitting under the tree.  I have giggled with glee so very many times at the fattened underside of our Christmas tree.  I can’t wait for all of us to rip into those packages tomorrow morning. 

The Christmas meal of lasagna is planned.

The concept of Christmas being Jesus’ birthday has  been thoroughly explained. 

Everything is set and ready or set and in motion.  And I am happy.  I don’t have to reach deep down inside to access my joy.  It has bubbled to the surface in such a warm and present way in the last two weeks….

But there is this one little thing.  It sneaks up at the strangest times.  It nags at the corners of my mind.  After all this time, it still comes totally unexpectedly in the form of thoughts like, “I need to call….” and “I can’t wait to tell her….”

I want my Mama.  I just do.  I want my Mama.

It is a Merry Christmas.  And she would kick my butt if I didn’t live that up because I was missing her…  But part of living it all fully will have to include missing her.  Smiling at the memories….  Crying at the missing….  And accepting that in the midst of my spirit fairly dancing at the wonder of the season this year, the missing of Mom will be there still.  I feel these things because she loved me so well. 

And now that the feeling is felt, and the thought is fleshed out, it’s time to get back to the business of Christmas. 

I miss you Mom.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

“Have yourself a Merry little Christmas, Let your heart be light….”

My heart *is* light this morning.

It is light with the giggles of my little girl and the squeals and babbles of my baby… light with the frolicking of a new kitten, and the solid purrs of an old friend…. 

Light with the joy of Husband coming home in time for Christmas.

My heart is revelling in the brightness of family together, of Christmas lights, of cookie-baking, and present wrapping.

I am thankful for “better living throuch chemistry” and for the hope that comes from brokenness being mended.

In the past few years the line of this song that struck the deepest chord with me was, “Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow…”

This year, my heart is remembering how to be light…  My spirit is feeling free to celebrate.  My soul is grateful for the birth of a king in a humble hay-filled stable and for the continual birth of his light in my life.  Grateful for Immanuel–God with us.

I feel myself dancing and twirling with the girls, I hear my voice lift with the carols of the season, and it feels incredible.

There will be bittersweet tears of remembrance this year…  They are unavoidable now.  But that’s ok.

 There may be anxiety about where in life we will be for next Christmas… 

But I WILL let my heart be light.

I am so grateful that I can.  Right now.   In this moment. 

The Polar Express

We rented The Polar Express last night, and despite the fact that it was nearly bedtime, we put it in to watch. 

From the moment the train came rolling in, Little Miss and I were both spellbound.  She curled up in my lap by the light of the Christmas tree lights, the new kitten snugly cuddled in her arms.  She hid her face during the scary parts, and twittered with excitement during the magical ones.

Only one thing bothered her about the movie.  At the end, when the boy returned home, she was certain that the Mama should have played a more important role upon homecoming.  She kept whimpering, “Where’s Mama?  Where’s his Mama?”

I love that at this moment in her life, the end of every adventure should conclude in Mama’s arms.  In her eyes, every perilous adventure, every wondrous exploration isn’t complete until she’s snuggled firmly next to me. 

I hope it will always be that way…. 

Just Break My Heart…

Little Miss asked for some extra snuggles for bed tonight.  I curled her up against my chest and rocked her back and forth.  She started sniffing.  I heard that tearful sound in her voice.

“Daddy…  I want Daddy…..  Mama, I want to snuggle with Daddy.”

We called him.  They chatted.  She sniffed some more, and choked back tears.  I held her close and reminded her of the fun things we have to look forward to before Daddy comes home.  I told her it was ok to cry when we miss Daddy.  It hurts and it’s ok to feel that…..

I went to our room and got one of Husband’s shirts, brought it to Little Miss who snuggled it up next to her face and held it as tight as she could.  I checked in on her one last time just now and she had put on Daddy’s shirt to finally settle down to sleep.

There are so many milestones in the life of a child.  First steps, first words, first time they say I love you.

This was the first one that broke my heart:  the first time she articulated her feelings about Daddy being away.

These are the moments when this lifestyle feels like a sacrifice.  It is an honor….  but yes, sometimes it is also a sacrifice.

How Stockdale is Already Improving Our Lives–Or Why My Life Looks Like an “I Love Lucy” Episode

(Uncle Ken and Aunt Ellen, you’ll appreciate this)

See–I was right.  Stockdale hasn’t even been here 12 hours and already he is improving life around here.

After the kiddos went to bed, I cuddled with him.  He purred.  Then he played in adorable kitten ways.  He wandered around the room….  He jumped.  He frolicked.

Then he scratched.

Then he scratched again.

“Uh-oh,” says I.

I roughed up his fur a bit to try to see his skin.  And I thought that I detected something that might possibly look like a flea.  I didn’t see any ‘flea dirt.’  But….  there was a black thing…  That appeared to be flealike. 

I will NOT be infested with fleas.  I just will NOT.

Crap.

Stockdale was quarantined to the garage.  Chester was quarantined to the bathroom. 

And vacuuming commenced. 

I just did THE most thorough vacuuming job OF MY LIFE.  I vacuumed the furniture.  Under the furniture.  The couch.  Inside the couch.  Behind the entertainment center.  I vacuumed everything.

Incidentally, that meant I had to tidy up.  I’ve been having trouble tidying up.  I had the mastitis you  know, and then I was feeling oomphless.  I also washed any stuffed animal that was in any rooms that Stockdale was in today.  (Luckily that wasn’t many).  That required me to move the clean clothes into the dryer and the dried clothes into the clothes baskets–and all of the clothes away from the quarantined kitties.  That meant laundry got done  started.  I put the non-stuffed animals in hot soapy water–probably the first time I’ve done so since Baboo Little Miss was born.

Which, of course, meant I had to clean out my sink.  Which meant I got the dishes in the dishwasher put away and the other dishes loaded.

You see….  We NEEDED Stockdale.  He has helped me clean.  When no one else could.

Now….  I just get to wake up early tomorrow….  Go straight to the vet and buy some Advantage…..  Treat both kitties in quarantine….  Keep them in quarantine til I’m satisfied they won’t be spreading any could-be fleas around here.  And vacuum some more.  Also mop.

I told you he’d be good for us, didn’t I?

Why do I get the feeling this one is sure to be continued……

On Cats and Insanity

(Yes, Annie–the title is for you.  ;))

Ok, so the truth is….  Today was a down day.  An awful day.  Blahier than blah.  Parts of today just felt so devoid of hope.  So devoid of cheer.  So devoid of any possible belief that ‘better days are coming.’  I just felt….  well…  depressed!  I woke up feeling good, feeling able to conquer the world…  When it took two hours to make it through my 40 minute workout video….  well that’s when I started feeling ‘off.’  Then the exhaustion hit…  And then just…  blah. 

So in the midst of this blah an idea forms…  I’ve been staring at a sign across the street for days  now.  I’ve come to think of it as ‘The Sign of Temptation.’  In green stencilled letters it says, “Free Kittens.”  The only thing that would have been more tempting for me would be a sign that said, “Free Chocolate.”

For some reason, in my funk, that sign grabbed me….  And wouldn’t let go.  I called my sister-in-law to talk me out of it.  She did.  I called my Dad to talk me out of it.  He did.  I called my best friend to talk me out of it.

She said go for it.  That’s what best friends are for.

And….  well….  I did.

And maybe it’s ridiculous.  Maybe it’s irresponsible.  Maybe it’s impractical.

But I just kept thinking.  This could be a little piece of joy for us to hang onto.  A little bit of it.  A kitten to cuddle and watch bounce and play.  I longed to see Little Miss’s eyes sparkle and Baboo’s curiosity piqued.  And I longed to stroke a timid kitten until he purred.

So I did it.  I marched across the street.  And I found a kitten.  A sweet, black kitten.   In keeping with our Naval theme we’ve  named him Stockdale (our first cat is named Chester Nimitz…  though he was originally named after Chester from Gunsmoke because of the hitch in his getalong). 

I’m crazy.  I know.  Even the doctor told me.

But now I’m a crazy lady with another cat.  And somehow, that makes me happy.