Fa la la la la

I went on the treadmill this morning, mimicking life a bit.  The damp cold of fall turning into winter dissuaded me from walking dogs up the real hill.  “Morning Edition” kept me company as I huffed and puffed; Luci snuck downstairs to eavesdrop.  I was doing ok, with the whole fa la la chore list thing, until I heard Rachel Flotard singing a ballad, “I will still live after you’re gone.”  I was overcome with longing to visit my father, to share stories about kids parting, living their lives without moms and dads in the next room.  All I could do was settle here.

Dear Daddy,

I know that you would kick my behind if I didn’t finish what I started, raising kids to be independent, loving, capable people.  I know that you would hug me close when I rage at my kids’ leavings on Christmas adventures.

You would say go start a food drive or

feed the birds Christmas pine cones slathered with peanut butter or

invite someone, who has no one, to share Christmas Day.

“You are stronger than you know.”

My son will live on after I am gone, and I want him to remember me as I remember you:

Smiling and waving, sending me on my way.

Merry Christmas, Daddy.

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‘Tis the Season

When the emptying begins, a mom thinks that she can cope.  When the emptying continues, a mom thinks that she can cope.  When the emptying stops ending, a mom thinks she can cope.

But coping is not the same thing as being excited. Or fulfilled or needed or happy. Coping is another word for making peace with loneliness.

“Tis the season for peace.  I rage, “Bring it ON!” ” please.”

Into this grieving abyss jumps a puppy.

Every morning Luci wiggles all over with the exciting discovery that I have returned.  I am her world, very briefly, and that moment is enough to keep me waking up.  Her total puppy adoration and joy in my reappearance is enough to make me climb the attic steps, drag down Christmas decorations and start a tradition.  Raffi’s voice fills my home.


Every little wish and every little dream has a chance of coming true at Christmas.

(All three dogs spin to the right.)

Every little song sung throughout the year has a chance of being heard at Christmas.

(All three dogs spin right on Christmas.)

Every little prayer and every little hope is the joy of Christmas time.

(All three dogs look confused but gamely heel to the door and back to the living room.)

All our loving hearts, beating all as one. Everybody fed, there’s enough to go around.

(All three dogs spin to the right.)

All our loving hearts beating all as one…. The joy of Christmas time .

(All three dogs try to spin, stand, then bow.)

And so a melody sung each December since 1987 is knit to the choreography of 2009, creating a tradition that brings both comfort and joy.

Decorations are going up, cards are going out, cookies are going in.  Traditions move through my fingers, from the past to the present to the future. Crafting words or movements or notes pushes my loneliness aside, just a bit, giving contentment a moment to reside in my emptiness.  Dare I say it feels peaceful?

‘Tis the season for such tidings of comfort and joy.