It’s Christmas Eve, and I’m sitting here at the computer looking over at the spot in front of the big picture window where the Christmas tree used to be, and the empty floor where piles of presents used to sit. There is no sign of the impending holiday anywhere in this house, unlike in times past when I’d draped twinkle lights over everything that would stand still. Will and I don’t even have gifts for each other this year. It would be a bummer of epic proportions…..if not for something wonderful that happened this morning.
About two years ago in one of my fits of remorse over the way I’d treated my kids growing up, I wrote a letter to them expressing my sorrow over my inconsistency in raising them, at the same time praising them for their successes in life and telling them how proud I am of them. I published it on my nursing website and promptly forgot about it, at least until last night when I was going through some of my old posts on that site. On the spur of the moment, I posted it on Facebook in the hope that at least a couple of the kids would read it.
Imagine my surprise when I checked my page this morning to find that all four of them—even the daughter in Afghanistan—had indeed read it and posted comments of their own! To my delight, it was a virtual love-feast…..all of them talked about how much they loved their Dad and me, the way we’d always made the holidays special, and that they knew how much I loved them despite the personal difficulties that disrupted our family life. They even said they wished I wouldn’t be so hard on myself, and that there was nothing to forgive because they all knew I did the very best I could with what I had to give.
Naturally, I did what every mom would do under the circumstances and promptly burst into tears. But they were tears of joy, not only because of the great love my children hold for their Dad and me, but because I can now forgive myself for my shortcomings as a parent. As the oldest daughter said, the past is past and there is no resentment. All that’s left is the love.
This is the best Christmas gift of my life. There may not be anything to unwrap tomorrow morning, but the love of these four human beings to whom I gave birth is more precious than diamonds. I don’t have to feel guilty anymore. They know how much they were, and are loved, and that’s really all I’d hoped to accomplish with that letter. I never dreamed that they would respond with such tenderness and so many good memories of their childhood.
So I wish my beloved children a Merry Christmas filled with everything and everyone they love. And I thank them all for making me feel like a Mom worthy of the name.
While I’m at it, I’d also like to wish my readers the happiest of holidays, whether or not you celebrate it. I hope you find that the world is a little bit warmer at this time of the year. As for me, I’m taking tomorrow off to be with my family, in whom the light of love—and the spirit of Christmas—live for me all year round. <3