62. Christmas with my Boy

A quiet Christmas today.  We stayed home — my youngest son and me.

And it’s probably the last Christmas when he’ll live here.

And we played a game all afternoon — It happened to be a game I’d given him a couple years ago at Christmas and we hadn’t opened until now.  And we had a lot of fun playing it.  (He won.)

And we had a nice meal together, which I prepared yesterday.

And we opened gifts.

And we played Christmas music.

And we both did some reading.

And I was together with someone I love dearly.

61. Emmanuel

Emmanuel.  God with us.  That’s the amazing thing about Christmas.  God became one of us, and put aside His glory so we could better understand Who He is.

In Luke 7, after Jesus brought a widow’s son back to life, this happened:

They were all filled with awe and praised God.  “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said.  “God has come to help his people.”

God has come to help His people.  Thank you, Lord.

60. A Happy Family to Miss

My youngest son just finished college, so I’ve been having some Empty Nest Blues.

This is on top of being divorced, so it hits a little hard that my nest is well and truly empty.

However — Even if I were still married — kids grow up.  This is a good thing!

I am incredibly proud of both my kids.

Yes, I look back fondly on those wonderful times when they were toddlers and young kids, soaking up learning.  We got to be a young family living in Europe.  We got to visit castles, go hiking regularly on our “mountain,” play games together, see sights of Europe.  Although my marriage ended badly, I have experienced being loved by a spouse deeply and truly.  (For awhile, anyway!)

We weren’t perfect young parents, and every moment was definitely not idyllic.  But we had some tremendously happy times together — and I think my kids are among the most wonderful people God has ever created.  I’m so glad their youth was entrusted into my care.

So yes, even if I were still happily married, this day would still have come.  My kids are launching out into the world, and I’m so proud of them!

And I miss them — and I’m glad I do.  And I’m thankful for precious memories, which I will always cherish.

59. My Son Finished College!

Yesterday, my youngest son finished his last Final Exam, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Computer Science.


I am now the mother of two full-grown adult college graduates!

It was a lovely last drive to Williamsburg.  There were no traffic slowdowns, and it was so warm we had dinner outside, in Merchant’s Square of Colonial Williamsburg.  We talked all the way home.  Just a lovely day with my wonderful boy!

Where does the time go?

I am so proud and happy about the man he has turned out to be.

58. My Mom

This year I was a judge for the Cybils Awards, in the category of Fiction Picture Books.  Publishers sent me many picture books to consider (the ones my library didn’t have).

The majority of those are going to the library.  But I selected the best to send to my two toddler nieces — and to my Mom.  My Mom has Alzheimer’s.  My sister, who helps my Dad care for her, requested board books or very simple picture books for Mom.  Apparently she can still read those.

I’m not sure the ones I sent are simple enough.  But I hope so.  I hope they will bring her some joy.

And that got me reflecting.

My Mom was the one who taught me to read.  Long before teachers got hold of me.  (I can still remember when I could read a particular set of word cards she’d made for me.  And her delight.  One of the words was yellow.)

My Mom was the one who taught me, by example, to read aloud to small children with expression, with joy, and with love.

I am sure I still slip into her cadences when reading aloud to children at the library.

It was my Mom’s idea to have all her kids take naps for an hour every day — but we could read during that time; we didn’t have to sleep.  Thus she got me in the habit of reading for at least an hour each day.

My Mom always wrote in each book she read the date she finished reading it.  (At least books she owned!)  Whenever she gave a book, she wrote to the giftee in the front, and insisted we do the same when we gave books to her.  So each book chosen last night was inscribed to her.

Yes, parents can instill a love of reading in their kids.  My Mom sure did!

And now, I hope that reading these simple, lovely books I’m sending will give her some joy.

And I have to also say that I’m so thankful for my Dad, who takes tender loving care of her, even though she’s definitely not the woman he married any longer.  And I’m thankful for my sister who lives there and helps.

Merry Christmas, Mom!  Thank you for the positive way you shaped my life.

56. Adult Friends

Seeing my son over Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful — and then the Empty Nest Blues hit again.

Part of adjusting to my youngest son growing up and becoming an adult and planning to move out — is the whole question of what value and worth do I have as a single woman, living alone?  I didn’t realize how much of my value I placed in being part of a family — until that’s not there.

And I’m also having to deal with just plain loneliness.  I’m an introvert — so it’s a bit of a paradox.  I love having alone time.  But then when I have a whole day where I only see a few strangers at the haircut place — it’s tempting to fall into loneliness.

Last Monday, when I was missing my son, and had hurt my back that morning — I tried to straighten my Christmas tree and utterly failed, ending up trying to hold up the tree for twenty minutes while trying to readjust it so it wouldn’t fall over.  And I got to feeling sorry for myself, since that was something my ex-husband used to take care of.  And I felt all the more alone.

All that’s the background.  Today was a day that should combat loneliness for at least a week.  Today was full of friends — and friends I’ve made because of who I am, totally apart from my kids and all but one of whom don’t even know my ex-husband.  These are people who know me and who like me — and knowing whom brings me lots of joy.

First was church — an excellent and uplifting sermon, followed by getting to talk with good friends.

Then my small group met at my house — and one of the men brought a small saw (I’d asked) and cut off branches as needed and straightened my tree beautifully!  Yes, my small group is made up of people from church, but as it happens these are different people from the friends I’d already talked to at church.  We talked in depth about what’s going on in our lives.  They love me and are looking out for me, and the whole group means so much to me!

Then I went to an open house of some friends who just finished remodeling — and saw yet more friends from church.  Again, it was a different group from the people I’d already talked to, mostly from a small group I used to be part of — but more wonderful people I really care about, just enjoying being together.

And I finished up the day with a group who like to play games, and we played three games of Dominion and I just enjoy that so much.  This group I became part of when I was dating one of the men (the other two men are there with their wives).  We broke up, but they let me stay part of the group, and it turns out these are all people I love to hang out with, and they like to play one of my very favorite games, and it’s just become a great part of my life.

So, yeah, I’m not feeling lonely today.

Instead, I feel abundantly blessed.