It is the evening after my daughter’s wedding and the evening before Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve eve, if you will. I am caught like a wayward snowflake between the two events. Many tears were cried at the wedding ceremony. It was a momentous occasion for my heart. And tears will likely be cried on Christmas day; for it is the first Christmas without my mother. And the second Christmas since I lost my brother. Holidays are meant to be shared with those we love. And when family members are no longer with us, there is a poignant ache in the midst of the festivities. Holidays have often been a bittersweet time for me; forced gaiety is not my forte.
But this year there is a lightness I did not expect: a new family member to balance the loss of the others. Because, even though the wedding was planned, anticipated, and discussed for over a year, the reality of the experience made me realize that I was finally allowing something important to happen: I acknowledged that my little girl is truly a grown woman. And her husband is a man I really really like. She picked a good one! She is smarter than her ol’ mom! And it makes me feel so relieved and so very proud.
I have been told, “You are not losing your daughter, you are gaining a son.” This actually feels true! When I hugged him goodbye at breakfast this morning I realized that I was falling in love. Not like a girlfriend and not like a mother, but like someone welcoming a new family member into her heart.
So although there is much loss to reflect upon under late night candle glow, there is also a warm glow of happiness. I won’t call myself Mother in law, which evokes an image of Fred Flintstone grumbling about Wilma’s mother. We’ll have to come up with a new term, my daughter, her hubby and I. Just as I finally decided to take Oma as my grandma name, because it has the word Om in it.
That grandbaby will be another new person I will be ready to welcome in, when the time comes.
This season has shattered me with loss and showered me with blessings. I am profoundly grateful at a time when sorrow sometimes overtakes joy. I am able to ride this rollercoaster of Feelings and keep holding on.
Although I am not so appeased as to stay put and enjoy the season’s Feels at home (I am running off to Mexico with my youngest daughter while the newlyweds enjoy a New Zealand honeymoon) I have so much hope and joy and gratitude that love does exist and continue among times of loss.
And that is the gift that my daughter and husband, with their Christmas wedding, have unexpectedly given to me.