From Old to New

It’s very early on Christmas morning as I head back toward my family and the upcoming festivities.  The highway is dark and cold but not lonely at all.  I’m filled with peace and love after such a wonderful evening spent in Goose’s life.  Even now as I’m traveling back into the present of my life.  Back to the ex-husband who will drop off our son to share the rest of the holiday with me.  And the adult children who were once understanding and supportive of my separating from their step dad, who are now very loyal and caring for him.   Traveling back to pick up the pieces of my once seemingly content life.  I don’t feel the usual tension returning.  I have Christmas Joy filling my heart this morning as the sun rises bit by bit.

My daughter’s home is lit with the Christmas tree and her big boxer dog is peering out between the curtains as he watches me come toward the door.  I can’t see his tail end from the sidewalk, but I know it’s wildly swinging from side to side.  With my hand on the doorknob, I hear his large elephant paws on the other side of the door along with the excited high pitched shriek of my 5-year-old granddaughter, “Grammmmaaaa!”   The door opens to Christmas New.

Christmas Old was filled with constancies.  The traditions, the same-ness, the expected.  The people, foods, ambiance, and love.  But now in Christmas New.. there are only hints of tradition, same-ness and the expected.  My daughter is planning the same foods as Christmas Brunch has always been… but she is making it all this year.  The place is different… so the decorations that have graced our holidays for years are not present, and new ones have taken their place.

My son-in-law unloads the presents and carmel rolls from my car, as my ex arrives with our son.  There is an air of apprehension mixed with the 20 degree temperatures outside.  The wind is still and crisp.  My 9-year-old enters into the livingroom and greets me with a hug and a “Merry Christmas Mom.”  My ex did the same, without the hug.  Soon the children break the tension with their anticipation of the gifts waiting under the tree.  Fortunately, their lack of patience has broken the path to a familiar place as we all gather to open presents.  My ex in his uncertainty and sadness began walking to the door, when I interrupted his step and asked him to join us.  This is Christmas and my heart is filled with peace and love.  There have been so many changes for us all.  So much confusion and sadness involved as a family divorces.  My invitation allowed a collective sigh of relief from every person in the room.  Now Christmas New has begun even in this changing family.

The children pass out packages and the scent of carmel and cinnamon and hot black coffee drift in from the kitchen.  There are smiles and laughter as packages are opened.  Ribbons and colored paper are accumulating on the floor.  The big boxer dog with his clumsy elephant paws chases everything that moves.  Our family is finally on its way from old to new.

As the morning passes, the packages now opened.  And the breakfast eaten.  The papers and ribbons gathered.  The children are playing with their new presents.  It’s then my ex and I share a momentary glance filled with gratitude for this morning, memories of holidays past, and sorrow for dreams not achieved.  I can feel the sting of tears welling up in my eyes.  But my granddaughter interrupts their flow with excitement over a puzzle she has opened.  She requests my help.  Puzzles are not my forte, but I’m grateful for the snuggles with her all the same.   I have to say, it’s the children who have made this Christmas.  They have all they need.  They have the people they love surrounding them.  Nothing else really matters.


15 thoughts on “From Old to New

  1. isn’t it amazing the things we will do for our kids, i am thinking it “helped” them accept that life will go on, a bit different. like my 5 year old grandson said to me, ” i love everyone, but i don’t have to like them all of the time” i can learn so much unconditional love if i “listen” to my ‘lil ones, they are so wise way beyond their years!!!

  2. Great story. There is something to say about being with family and love ones during the holidays. The traditions may change but the memories are always on our mind and in our hearts.

    • Life seems to be a mixture of old and new. Like a plant as it grows. It has roots that secure it to a foundation and new growth that reaches always upward.
      Our lives need the secure foundation where our lives initially began. But without new experiences we would not continue to grow and finally bloom to be what we were intended to be.

  3. Thank you Jane.
    I’ve been learning so much about love. How it’s cycle works.. beginning, middle and endings too. I’m learning to manage and be grateful for each part of the cycle with dignity and grace. Sometimes I do well, other times, I fail miserably. Fortunately, we get as many chances to learn as we need.

    • Everything is a process. It takes time to learn about another person and to see how they fit into our life and how we fit into theirs.
      I did a bible study a few years back called “Secrets of the Vine” from the book of the same title. I learned about how our lives are like a vine… and the vine keeper provides for our care. Each branch is an opportunity to bear fruit. Some branches flourish well with the right combination of sun and nourishment. This branch bears alot of succulent fruit. Other branches don’t get the right combination of nourishment… it may not necessarily be ‘bad’. It may even grow some beautiful leaves, but no fruit. And this ‘branch’ must be pruned away to leave nourishment for another branch to be able to grow.
      Relationships are the same.. some are wonderful for us and together many good things happen.. thus they bear fruit.
      Some relationships are alright.. they aren’t necessarily ‘bad’, but they aren’t fulfilling either.
      Finally, there are the relationships that clearly have no ‘fit’.
      If we choose to remain in these less than amazing relationships, we use our resources of time, energy, and emotional investment unwisely.

      Times of rest are so important. They allow us to evaluate and rebuild and even heal if necessary.

      • I love the idea of the Vine of Life Jeannie..there is no destination in this life so it is about the journey and how we tend to our vine…x

  4. I was touched by your kindness toward your ex, brought on through love of your children.

    I always say: You can’t help how you feel, but you can help how you act.

    May 2012 be kind to you Jeannie.

    Blessings – Maxi

    • Maxi,
      I rarely find cause to be less than kind. I have my moments of frustration or of being overwhelmed just like everyone else. I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and then I can find it much easier to be kind.

      Blessings to you in the New Year Maxi!

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