Thursday, December 12, 2013

Advent-ure Time

Right after Thanksgiving, I found myself driving alone in the giant van.  I can't tell you why, because it so rarely happens, but I know I was making the most of it.  I was flipping around my satellite radio (the one shining luxury in our family workhorse), and I counted at least 5 round-the-clock Christmas song stations.

One of them was playing this:

I have loved this song since I was a little girl, even though it always made me a little sad. And no one sings it like Judy. 

(But the version with John Denver and Rowlf is a close second).

I recognized the first few notes and turned it up to sing along.  I was feeling pretty happy, so imagine my surprise when, after the first lines, I started crying.  

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light,
Next year all our troubles
Will be out of sight.

Last year, my Advent was terrible.  I can't even say that I observed Advent, except that in my heavily pregnant state every movement was a sort of penance. But Advent isn't just penance. It's also preparation and I was not preparing. I was surviving. 

Of course, I was unaware that my Advent days were numbered and I would spend Christmas in the hospital, under the heavy influence of intravenous narcotics. I didn't know that I would miss every single one of the traditions I love so much; the little joys with the children that make Christmas so special each year.

I don't mean to make it sound like a healthy new baby is nothing, because it's not.  It's everything, really.  Isn't that what we are celebrating at Christmas?  The arrival of Christ, the baby.  But now, with a year's perspective, I can see how non-present I was.  

The new year came, and with it I lost my grandmother in March and a college friend in July.  Granny lived a full life, but her decline was sudden.  Tara lived a shorter life, but her decline was a slow and intense battle against the cancer that took her.  Both of them are still sorely missed.

I usually like to observe a contemplative, quiet Advent (or at least that's what I try for every year!), but this year, I am doing everything.  Every tradition, every song, every cookie, every gift, every card, every Mass, every school pageant, all of it.  

I know for a fact that I'm doing it all imperfectly, but that is not driving me crazy.  I know for a fact that I won't get everything done that I hope to do, but I am calm about that.  

Because I am just so damn glad to be here this year.   Thank you, God, for letting me be here.

St. Nick left a gift for everyone. Even Septimus, who has no shoes.

Fun plastic plates and some candy in the shoe - jackpot!

A giant bag of generic cereal and some curling ribbon will keep little hands busy on a snowy afternoon.

Mopsy is intent on stringing her garland for the tree.  She lasted longer than anyone else, except me.

Bun started out strong, but the arts and crafts are no match for playing Star Wars with your brother.

Sally was a great worker, too.  

Bun kept eating his work.

Mopsy was so proud of her work!

This is our Tree-on-a-table technique for keeping
Septimus from destroying the whole set-up.

The kids' handiwork looks very festive on the tree.

Snowy lights on the holly bush.
"Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown."

"O, Christmas Tree, O, Christmas Tree
How lovely are thy branches . . ."


  1. Love your baby proofing of the tree! I have a feeling we will have something similar next year!!!!

  2. I love this. I love you. Just throwing that out there :)


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