It is almost "all but a memory" now. Christmas Present will soon be Christmas Past and I can carry on living my happy little life in the moment. The place I most like to be.
My trip to see Mom couldn't have went much better.
It was summer-like driving conditions, in winter weather. No drifting snow, no ice, no worries. It was a very carefree and easy drive.
The visit was very much the same.
I thought my stay may feel too long without the added company of one or the other of my sons along. But it felt like the perfect amount of time with an ideal amount of distractions.
Mom cooked a turkey meal and preparing for that filled in the cracks of the "day before". Preparing a meal doesn't even feel like work when you divide the job in two. She filled her table for six and commented that she had enough dinnerware for "two more". And I quietly thought of how much my sons would have enjoyed sharing that meal.
The day after the big meal was spent hanging out at the mall. A light breakfast and a stroll down the mall just looking at things and buying nothing was a most leisurely way to pass the time. A few more stops were made before we took a coffee break on our way home. I'm not certain how many hours we passed out of the house but it felt like the perfect amount of time.
The exhaustion that seemed to wash over Mom in preparation for her big meal was replaced by an energy that seemed to come from a place of "a job well done". She gathered and fed her family a Christmas meal and her work was done.
I had the chance to see a few friends and we managed to pack in a day's worth of visiting into the hours we had at our disposal. These friends go back so many years and we share so much history. We have walked such parallel paths, we are kindred spirits and our friendship is one of the sisterhood variety.
No gifts were exchanged, other than the assortment of my "favorite things" I packed up in a plain, brown bag and gave to Mom. In reality, I didn't need that package at all. All I had to do was pick up what I noticed Mom needed and listen for cues as to what she wanted while I was there and that was truly my gift. She really, really doesn't like shopping. But I don't think she would mind a little grocery/household elf to survey her house at night and just fill it with what is lacking so she could find it when she needed it. I made an attempt to be that "elf" and it felt good. It felt right.
I made my way home and the long road to Mom's became shorter as I made my way back. Thoughts of my visit wafted in and out and through my mind. No one thought sat still. They moved and shifted and shifted like the landscape I drove past.
I returned home and all was well. I opened the door and our two cats were there to greet me and my son was hot on their tails. The cats did their "I didn't miss you!" but "Where in the world were you?!" and "I'm mad at you" but "I still love you" routine. They didn't need me. My son tended to all their physical and emotional needs in my absence. I'm just the person who buys the cat food and cat litter.
I am the little grocery/household elf in this house. I am appreciated as needs are quietly fulfilled, supplies are replenished and more often than not what we need is at our fingertips.
Our life and household runs pretty smoothly. So smoothly, I can walk away for a few days and these guys just pick up my slack and when I return, I just have to pick up where I last left off and carry on.
I have a very good life to come home to. I think of one of my sister-friends whose life is in a complete state of upheaval, renewal, loss, change and evolution as I sit here and write. I think of my other friend who described the scene in her home one short hour before we met for supper. I looked at her in amazement that she walked out the door like everything was perfect in her world. She just replied, "That's just a day in my life..."
I lead such a "bubble wrapped" existence. All is calm, all is bright, I am surrounded by people who value me, believe in me and support me when I'm down. I work for and with people who appreciate me. There is so much contentment within the core of my being. I have strong bonds with the people within my world.
I found myself reflecting on the relationships I was unable to sustain throughout my adult years and I am starting to see the common thread. At one time I gave myself away. I gave all I had until I was empty. When I was empty, the relationships died. These days I don't give myself away. I share what I have. I do my best to plant what has "gone to seed" in my life and hope those seeds can grow in someone else's garden.
I don't give until I am empty any more. I keep trying to keep myself nourished so I can continue to share what I have. My nourishment comes from a place of quiet.
I have one more day to push through and then I can nourish myself. And our cats. Perhaps my son will join us.
"Jet" (our young and "I'll take all you have to give" cat) just tried to jump up on my lap a few minutes ago. "Tomorrow", I said to him. Tomorrow, we will have a cat day. Tomorrow, we will fill up on all things light and easy and simple and just breathe in the same air. Tomorrow, I will be still. I will make turkey soup with the turkey bones Mom sent home with me. It will be a "Turkey Soup for the Soul" kind of day.
Take some time to nourish your soul today. I am stealing this time this morning when I should be working on something else. It all works out in the end. If I don't "feed myself" I have nothing to give. I am hopeful that by taking this time, the one project left undone will come together with ease when I return from my work day this afternoon.
One more hard day to go. Just one ...