There is a Christmas tree in my living room. It is understated, with glowing white lights (which do me the favor of not blinking) and simple silver ornaments. It is situated perfectly in the middle of the window, shining out in the darkness of night for everyone to enjoy. I actually love that Christmas tree. Only it is not my tree, nor is it my living room.
I spent twenty years in that house. I raised both of my sons, and then, three years ago, a daughter there. During my tenure I lived through construction of a big addition, various paint jobs, rearranged furniture, new carpets, replacement of appliances that all decided to die at the same time, play structures being constructed and ultimately, outgrown, great times and, frankly, some pretty dark ones. My children, in all their incarnations and phases (some more pleasant than others) spent the entirety of their lives there. And now, there is a Christmas tree not far from where the Menorah was illuminated for all those twenty years.
The end of this year rests in stark contrast to the end of last. Everything, it seems, feels different. And, for the first time in longer than I feel ashamed to admit, I feel blessed.
My children are doing fine. Better than fine, in fact. They have their moments (oh, who am I kidding…it is never just a moment) but all in all, they are good. Harrison, (begrudgingly) home for semester break continues to make me proud. (Well, makes me proud when he isn’t forcing me to use words to describe him that are unbecoming of a mother.) He, as a sophomore (warning: brag ahead) was elected president of his fraternity. He’s always been a leader and despite the fact that I really do not quite get the whole frat thing, is (when not home) wildly happy at school having surrounded himself with a great group of friends. For that I feel blessed.
Jess continues to be work in progress, but, despite her “significant” learning disability, rocked this semester with all As and Bs. She is finding her way and is content. (Full disclosure: I still worry about her. Always will, I suppose.) She is an artist to the core and I fully expect to see her one woman show at The Whitney some day.
I’ve established two wonderful relationships; one being with my former husband, Rich. The process of the dissolution of our marriage was unpleasant, no fun, felt interminable and nearly crushed my spirit, but we’ve both moved on and twice (yes, twice) in the past week have broken bread with our children in celebration of Jess’s birthday and then Hannukah. No tension, no anger, no animosity and a bill split down the middle. That’s how it should be. The other is with my guy Barry. His support of every single one of the complications that come along with me has been unfailing. He loves me, my children (and I, his) and, with his ringside seat to the changes of the past year, has kept me laughing. That is a gift.
2014 is ending high. On paper, I have always had so much to be thankful for: a wonderful family, amazing friends, a nice home and good food, but, if I am being honest (which you all know I always am): I was having a hard time feeling blessed. I truly do now.
Other than my, gulp, 50th birthday and a trip to Chile, I haven’t a clue what 2015 will bring. In contrast to years past, I enter it not with trepidation, but with happy anticipation. My ducks are in a row straighter than they have been for, well, a decade or so and I intend to keep them that way.
There is a Christmas tree in my living room, shining on me. May it shine on you and yours, too.