Sunday, December 28, 2014
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
Dec. 28, 2014
And...it's over. And...I survived. And...I'm relieved.
Actually, Christmas Day wasn't so difficult. Christmas Eve was slightly so. My folks arrived mid-afternoon, which was nice. All the Littles wanted to stay with Grandma and Grandpa and the Bigs wanted to go to the Christmas Eve service so we went. But I couldn't concentrate. As much as I wanted to be there, I also didn't want to be there. As soon as the service was over, I bolted. I just really didn't want to talk to anyone. Plus, I had forgotten my make-up bag and didn't have my pik or lipstick and I'm kind of vain like that and felt less-than-perfect in my appearance and didn't want to be seen in that condition. The boys stayed inside the church for awhile, which was fine. I sat out in my van and watched the light snow falling and listened to Christmas music on the radio. That was actually quite peaceful.
I had a visitor at 3:30 in the morning on Christmas. Sam bounded into my room and declared, "I can't sleep!" So I let him crawl into bed with me. Only, when I rolled over to do that, a jagged edge on my toenail (it's winter - I let them go during this season) caught on my sheet and ripped off. I still have a band-aid on it! My bed did not make for instant dreams of sugar plums for Sam, either. He was rather chatty.
"Nighttime is 8 hours, right, Mom? So, I've slept about 4 hours which means I only have 4 more to go!"
"I think I need some more melatonin, Mom? Can I get some?"
Please...take the whole bottle while you're at it...
He eventually drifted off but one of the effects of the peri-menopausal symptoms I am experiencing these days is an inability to fall back to sleep easily once awakened. So around 5 I was taking an Advil PM which then, of course, made it very hard to wake up when I had a little brown face breathing heavily into mine two hours later!
But, despite being a little foggy in the head, Christmas was nice. It was relaxing like last year, which is what I needed. I'm not so sure I could have handled some of my Christmases I've had in the past, surrounded by all sorts of people (which normally, I have always enjoyed). I needed this.
David surprised me with a cookbook he had purchased in August when he went to the state fair. Every couple of years they compile a book from the blue ribbon food entries. I was so touched by his thoughtfulness. And wrapped in pink camouflage wrapping paper, was my gift from Will - a 32" flat screen tv! I'll never tell him, but Ben accidentally let part of the cat out of the bag last month. He felt so terrible about it and he didn't tell me enough for me to know for sure, so I was still pretty shocked that Will had done this. The tv in my bedroom has been giving me problems for a few months now and I would have had to have replaced it sometime soon. It's an old tube tv. Will is going to take it to his dorm room for video games, which will save me $25 and the time and energy to have it recycled.
I ordered a couple of things off Etsy for myself from Mom and Dad. My favorite one is a 20X30 calligraphy print of the first two verses of Psalm 91. The morning of Paul's death Marcia and I sat on my couch, thumbing through the Psalms. We found this one and I just latched onto it and even had the psalm printed on the back of Paul's funeral program. When I read it, even today, I am instantly calmed and comforted. Dad said I should memorize it. He's right. This summer I looked on Etsy for wall hangings of that Psalm and found a lady in North Carolina who does calligraphy of verses. I didn't think I should spend the money then but promised myself if I still wanted it in Dec. then it could be my Christmas present. I finally ordered a week ago tonight. I told the artist that I was in no hurry and for her to take her time. I also told her, line by line, the colors I wanted. I heard from her the very next day and she told me she was already working on it. By that afternoon she was done and sent me a picture for approval. I assured her again there was absolutely no hurry to get it to me and I did not want this interfering in her Christmas week.
It was on my doorstep Christmas Eve! The mailman had apparently fried her brain with all the extra work required this time of year. It came in a huge box, big enough to cushion the nearly 2 foot by 3 foot dimensions. The mailman leaned it up against the door! Tell me how I'm supposed to open my door without knocking the thing over? I eventually got it, but it was not without effort. Give me a break...
I ordered a frame off Amazon that is supposed to be here Tuesday. I'm looking forward to getting it up.
I also ordered a little red 12X12 sign for my hallway off Etsy that reads, "Because someone we love is in Heaven, there's a little bit of Heaven in our home." That hasn't shipped yet. That's fine because I'm planning on painting the hallway really soon and all my pictures will have to come down for that project.
I dreamed about Paul today and Christmas gifts. The kids and I went out to eat and while we waited Will was sharing what he was learning in his SS class about Heaven. So I suppose that was on my mind. I had eaten a big meal (well, I ordered a big meal, but the kids got most of it - my appetite is still down. I have lost 9 pounds since Thanksgiving. I can't complain) and fell into a deep sleep almost immediately once I laid down when we got home.
In my dream it was Christmas time. A lot of different things were happening, with a number of different people I know and different Christmas celebrations. Throughout my dream I kept wondering when I was going to get my Christmas present from Paul. We always exchanged gifts for Christmas, as well as Valentines, our anniversary, birthdays, and Mothers/Father's Days. Not all couples do that, but I guess I just like stuff, so we did! It always felt good to do that. So, in my dream, I had this delicious sense of increasing anticipation of when he was going to give me the gift and what it just might be.
And then, still dreaming, I suddenly realized that oh, Paul is now dead and I won't ever, ever receive another gift from him. Sadness enveloped me. But before I could give into the emotion, still dreaming, I heard a very clear voice. I'm not sure who was speaking, but I'm almost wondering if it was God. And since I still remember this so clearly, awake, I wonder if the dream was another message from Him. The voice said, "But Paul gave you six gifts."
And then I woke up, the voice still ringing in my ears. Six gifts?
And then I knew. I have six children. Each one, a gift from God, certainly, but also a gift from their father. If it was not for Paul, I would not have any of them, not even the girls. And these gifts will last the rest of my life and give me much more joy and satisfaction than anything wrapped under the tree ever will.
As I mentioned, we went out to eat, today. A couple of weeks ago a friend gave me some money, instructing me to take the kids out. Yesterday, I ended up shopping for most of the day. It was fun, kidless shopping. Although, I'm probably getting old. Being in crowded stores two days after Christmas wasn't as fun as it used to be. After walking awhile my knee and my shoulder hurt and I needed ibuprofen but I hadn't brought my water bottle into the mall because my purse is already so heavy. So I had to wait until it was convenient to get some lunch. And then the food court was so crowded that it was hard to find a place to sit down. I felt like the new kid on the first day of school, facing a lunch room full of hostile faces, while trying to balance my tray. I eventually found a table and gratefully sat down, popped my Advil, and read my kindle (ironically, I'm currently reading a funny book about growing old) while eating my taco. I managed to finish the taco, but could not eat all my potato oles. It used to be the other way around.
So anyway, all that to say that I decided that we would go out to lunch today because I didn't have time yesterday to get today's lunch prepared which is usually what I do on Saturdays. I wanted to take the kids to the Cozy Cafe on the south side. This is like their 6th or 7th location. I had never been there until a couple of weeks ago when some friends from church took me. I really like their food - comfort type of stuff.
This particular location has been two other restaurants in the time I've lived here and I went to both of them. When it was called "The Robin's Nest" Paul and I went there one Sunday when Sam was only a couple of weeks old. Friends had volunteered to take the big boys so we could have some alone time. I'll never forget how Paul gallantly opened up my door so I could get out and then proceeded to walk towards the restaurant. I kind of hung back, wondering how long it would be until he figured out he had just left a baby in the van. After awhile he turned around and sheepishly started back to the van! That memory still makes me laugh! And then it became the "Black Angus." They hired Loziers to do some work so one night Paul was doing that and they told him they'd be happy to give him a discount on the food. I can't remember exactly how that all worked out but I just remember sitting in the parking lot of the Black Angus for quite awhile, reading, while I waited for him to get done working so we could start our date night.
And we were back today - great food, good service. They play the local Christian radio station in this restaurant - maybe in all their locations, I don't know. But, their greeter had a nose ring. And I'm not talking about a discreetly placed, winking stud (although I don't care for those either - I always think of a dried booger when I see them). This was a half ring with balls on both ends. The balls hung over the nostrils. Blech - talk about an appetite reducer! I know it's not just me showing my middle age. Almost all my kids commented on it, too.
Will got his grades this week. He got straight As in all his classes this semester. I'm impressed. No wonder he made the Dean's List! He was slightly bothered, though, that his GPA is not a 4.0. It's a 3.87. I may have slightly rolled my eyeballs when he mentioned that. But as a homeschooling mom, I do have to admit to feeling a certain sense of satisfaction. I didn't ruin him! When you're homeschooling your kids you never know for sure how good of a job you're doing. At least I didn't. And in the back of my mind I have always wondered a bit if I was totally screwing my kids over, educationally, because I am so aware of my own shortcomings when it comes to educating them. At least I did ok with this one!
David found Sam's glasses Monday or Tuesday. They were in front of the downstairs tv. I looked all over down there and I don't know how I missed them. Last night he had them on, rolled over onto his side on the couch...and snapped the bow off.
I cannot win.
This morning before Sunday School started Ellie and I were in the bathroom. She asked for some "wipstick" and I let her have my gloss. She smeared it on while I combed my hair. She smacked her lips together, looking in the mirror, and then I heard her exclaim,
"I am so boo-oo-tiful!"
Yes, yes, you are, Little one...and more than a little self-centered, diva-ish, and all-together girly.
But, fortunately, we have time to work on that!
Along with a host of other things. Happy New Year, everyone. May it be one of rest and growth.