Christmas is going to be weird for us this year. Sons #2 and #3 (from Tdub's first marriage) are going to see their mom in FL for the first time in 4 years. Until a few months ago they hadn't actually spoken with her in 3 years. I have mixed emotions about them going and yet I'm the one who instigated the whole thing. I began an email conversation with her last summer. I did most of the "talking" and it seems she actually listened. She even thanked me over the phone for all I'd written. Basically, I gave her a heart-to-heart about the importance of her role as their mother and assured her that while there are many things I CAN do for them....I can never replace her. I told her that their identities and esteem were directly tied to her and when she doesn't let them know that she loves them and cares for them, it leaves an empty aching hole that NO ONE can fill during their chidhood except her. The hole eventually becomes a wound, and at that point, they'll only be able to overcome it with God's help. So now, arrangements have been made for their trip to FL. They leave this Friday morning and will be staying until New Year's Eve. I'm mostly happy for them because I know it's the very best thing that can happen for them. The apprehension I feel is not related to my relationship with them because I feel good about that. It's about their return trip home. I know it will be so difficult for them to leave her. I sense they have longed for her touch, her scent, her laugh. And they will be reminded of what they miss and be hurt to leave it. I hate to see them hurt...again....and yet, it's a bittersweet hurt if that makes sense.
We'll be having our family Christmas on Thursday (having made arrangements with Santa to have their gifts dropped off early). None of the boys actually believe in Santa anymore but they know how much fun Tdub and I have on Christmas Eve "playing" Santa. We love setting our their stuff in 4 distinct arrangements and watching them come down those rickety stairs with wide eyes and mouths agape. It's getting less and less that way, unfortunately, as they eventually become too cool to open their eyes very wide or give more than a little chuckle of affirmation when they see their "stash". The two little ones are still "unjaded" enough to carry on quite a bit. I miss the days of staying up until 2AM assembling plastic toys and figuring out where hundreds of tiny little stickers should be placed on tiny little figures, signs, roads, and such. But....not that much. :) Because I don't miss the REST of the year back then when I felt "trapped" with taking care of every meal, snack, playtime, bathroom moment, and nap.
Enough rambling. Hope your Christmas is merry and bright!