Finding Peace During the Holidays
This afternoon while making to-do lists and entertaining the kids, a friend of mine appeared in an IM chat room and began to talk about an impending storm where she lives. Suddenly our chat turned to how many times we had experienced a white Christmas. For her, it was very rare. She lives near the Atlantic Ocean and the climate simply isn't conducive to snow in December. I, however, grew up in the Appalachian mountains of Pennsylvania, so I have had many years with snow by December 25th.
I shared with her the story of one white Christmas that occurred the year before my husband and I were married. That year had been more than a little bumpy. We were engaged, and having both completed graduate school a few months earlier, we were living together and working full time for the first time. His job was wonderful, but demanding. My job was in jeopardy as the private school in which I taught was experiencing financial difficulties. And we were both having some difficulties adjusting to spending so much time in the same space after two years of dating long distance.
With all of that aside, we headed to spend the holidays with my parents and extended family in Pennsylvania. On Christmas day we drove to my grandparents home about five miles from my parents, but back a mountain road, very much in the middle of nowhere. It snowed the entire day with accumulation and wind heavy at times. The details have become foggy after all these years, but at one point the power went out completely and we were left with the back up generator in my uncle's home. The time came for my elderly grandparents to cross the street to their home, also powered by a generator, and we felt that they would be safe for the night with my aunt and uncle nearby.
The one problem?
How would we get my grandmother across the snowy mountain road in total darkness in her wheelchair?
Having suffered several strokes, she was in a barely cognizant state and would be of no help. And that is when my fiance stepped up. In the cold, black night with no street or outside house lights to assist him, he helped my brother to push my grandmother's wheelchair through several inches of snow up a mountain road to the safety of her warm home. I knew in that moment in my heart that I had found the man who would someday see me through two traumatic pregnancies, hold my hand while I built a business from scratch while raising our children, and plan a wonderful life together.
After sharing this story with my friend, I looked around the room again. The to-do lists melted away. The hustle and bustle seemed to disappear. Instead, I saw the smiling faces of my children, the twinkling lights on our tree, the "10 Days of Christmas" sign on the mantel not shouting out a warning, but informing me of a glorious day soon to arrive, white or not.
As parents we often feel the weight of the world on our shoulders during the holidays. This year my wish for you is that you instead find the peace that the season can bring.