Today is the day after Christmas. This month, I've busied myself with work, work, and more work. Oh, and gifts and buying gifts and buying more gifts.
But on Christmas Eve, I sat quietly on the couch while Ben played a videogame. I was waiting for him so we could go to a friend's house. I realized this was the first I'd had time to sit and really think all month. I looked up at Wolfie's few pictures on the wall. His little toes, curled up in the palms of Ben's strong hands stared back at me. And I realized the great difference in what would have been this Christmas and what is. I glanced at our tree. Ben brought it home for me a month ago because he knows how much celebrating things means to me. He knows I really enjoy decorating the house and making everything all warm and fuzzy for a month. But even with all it's colorful lights and ornaments it all felt empty. A few small presents to each other, and a few scattered gifts for family members we'd yet to see... but no toys. No staying up late to assemble a bouncey gym thingy. No stockings this year.. I couldn't bear to see them hanging all alone without a little one for our baby. I remembered the little squishy talking soccer ball I'd bought last spring. I used coupons to get it at a discount and even though it was for 6 months and up, I decided it was perfect for a Christmas gift. "We can just put it into the closet until then and it can be one of his gifts for Christmas!" I'd told my husband when he questioned my shopping decision.
Then, I mourned for that. It seems so silly to be crying over a toy. But really I was crying over the lost memory (future memory) of giving it to him. Seeing him instinctively try to shove it into his mouth as babies do. Getting drool all over it. Watching his reaction as it activated and talked to him when he squeezed it. Glancing at my husband as we both laughed and thought to ourselves what a wonderful life it is.
I'm glad I have an appreciation for the "tradition" of religious holidays, as it were...the presents, the family get-togethers, the food, the tree, etc. Those things actually kind-of make it easier to be honest. Because honestly, right now, I cannot jive with the spiritual side of it at all. I mean, all the songs are about the BIRTH of a child. Angels sing about a BABY arriving. And even on the pseudo-emotional but not too religious side, Santa comes to bring little CHILDREN toys. You go to church, you're going to hear a sermon about a baby arriving into the world...successfully. You're going to sing songs and imagery of a sleeping little baby Jesus in a manger are going to fill your thoughts. It's just too soon for me.
And yes, it's probably going to be too soon for me to connect spiritually with Easter where God not only loses his son but his son gets to come back to life. And most of all I will be avoiding anything to do with Passover. Although the blood of the lamb covered our door, God did not spare our first-born son. I'm sorry. It's just too much.
Now, I know that there is more to spirituality than all of this. But right now, I am consumed by this grief spiritually speaking. I cannot really see the forest for the trees right now. Hopefully some day the bitter waters that flow through my heart will cease... maybe never.
In the mean time, I am happy to have my head down and work. I am relieved to have a break from my thoughts daily. The frustrating thing is that this usually means that I have a lot less time to hang out with friends. But I am growing in this. It feels good to grow again after having felt depleted for so long.
I turn my thoughts to Wolfie's toes. In the 5 days we were blessed with him, I got to kiss his toes about two-dozen times. He had enormous feet for a newborn baby... his foot barely fit inside the little clay foot imprint box that we were given. As painful as it is to think of his listless little body, it's easier than thinking of him happy and alive compared to the empty space where he should have been. His toes were there... the moment with the soccer ball this Christmas morning was not.
I remember lightly kissing the top of his big toe. I am so thankful for that.