Even though we all like to think of the holidays as fun, exciting, carol-filled, snowy-glittered days of hot chocolate and glowing fires and children's laughter-there is also that down time- that place between celebration and meditation where we are truly alone.
Yet, we all need this space- this stretching of our souls- these quiet moments to reflect and recharge.
I took my "alone time" on Saturday morning.
The week had been a scrapbook of Christmas ornaments and grandchildren and shopping and cooking and cleaning and planning and doing and being the Super Mom.
But, as I sat in the darkness of the family room, rolled into a flannel ball in my favorite comfy chair,
I realized that I am no longer excited by the season.
I realized that what magic once had roots here, now hovers like a kite that begs for freedom.
I confessed to myself that pretending it is the most wonderful time of the year- doesn't make it so.
Perhaps it was stress, or weariness or apprehension of failure. Or maybe too many sweets, too little sleep, ...or not enough wine.
Whatever the reasons, I was feeling a bit lost.Totally consumed by the days that I have no control over.
I put on some soft Christmas music and closed my eyes- seeing quite clearly the smiling faces of my children long ago as they leap-frogged over one another to rip the wrapping from Santa's gifts- as they giggled with glee and played incessantly through the night.
I still saw them in their "jammer bottoms" and holiday slippers- their candy cane sweetness...
their effervescent joy...
And like a film on fast forward, I recalled Christmas trees of the past, special gifts, certain treats,
forgotten snowmen and lost prayers.
A tear rolled down my cheek as I sat in the darkness and mourned times passing.
Then, all of a sudden, my husband came into the room- appearing as a silhouette against the dim light of the hallway.
He walked over to me and held out his hand, helping me up from my chair, but not saying a word.
Although it was dark, I saw his smile- shining like a loving light that captured my affection.
...And we began to dance.
A slow, sweet movement in the center of the room- the Christmas music like a fading heart beat
around us- hugging like young lovers that had no fear of time.
And then just as quickly as he appeared, he left the room- squeezing my hand as though he understood the images in my mind- the quiet sorrow that surrounded me.
That dance made all the difference.
Unexpected joy came over me. A piece of magic was recaptured. A reminder that what happens today is what we should take time to enjoy. That dwelling on the past- or time- only diminishes today's memories.
And, someday, when I'm old and gray and sitting alone in the darkness at Christmas time- I'll remember that dance.
And I will smile.