Friday, December 18, 2009

The Deep Dark Part of the Season

Puppy faces are authentic, day in and day out.I love puppy faces.  Yes, maybe this is the baby-substitution.  But, who cares?  It is almost the Solstice.  The "turn" is almost here,  and I am feeling "the coming."  This year I have allowed my experience to just be, not dress it up, or even put up a tree for Christmas.  Two daughters do not, or rarely, bring my grandbabies over to our house.  Today I am going to write about how this is for me.  
This little dog is growing.  I love the weight of him, his paw in my hand, his head on my foot, his whole self pushed into my side for a nap.  He watches me, "What's next?" which makes me delirious and happy, yet it is also such a responsibility!  When I put him out on the back porch, he spends his idleness chewing the porch broom into a pile of straw.

I grew up in a large, ranch family.  Christmas was a time of extended-family gatherings.  There were piles of food, and piles of gifts which in the long run, equalled 1 gift per child (a disappointment for me, as I intended to open the whole lot).  Aunts and Uncles drank too much and hollered at one another.  It wasn't always fun, but the "gathering" always happened.  As a child I was unaware of the misery of the adults, being engaged in playing with my favorite cousins.  There were family members which I steered clear of, for safety and peace of mind.

As I raised my girls (3), and stepdaughters (2), and sons (2), Christmas was always a hilarious, stressful and fun time.  Wayne and I went to great measures to provide a magical experience for them at home, and we always hauled them off Christmas day to N. California (Humboldt Co.) to Grandma Mary's house, where they romped with their pile of cousins.  Sometimes they had a blast, sometimes not. Sometimes they puked on the way (#3 daughter, especially), once we ran out of gas and had to wait by the side of the road while Wayne walked a mile to get some gas. One year I made each child (at the time, 5 of them) a huge Raggedy Anne.  This trek, while long and exhausting, was always amazing.  Preparing for this was an awesome task, as I look back at it: I made home-made gifts for my nieces and nephews, usually tins of cookies, granola, etc etc etc.

Of course, now the girls are where they are.  It is not my place or desire to judge.  It is my desire to loose the sadness, 'cause I really wish they'd all converge here, regardless of personality clashes, hideous history, anger, disappointment... blah blah blah.  Personally, I love the mess of it all.  My personal belief is that we heal ourselves, and can support each other in healing all of the above.  And, that's me.

My job is my front step.  Sweep it, girl!
As I have said at least a million times, I just love this face.  LunaDog is talented at snuggling in the pillow pile.  She too, loves piles of kids with which to romp.  Oh, does she love to pounce on them when they are in sleeping bags!

When I first got her, my kids said, "Nice Pitbull, Mom!"  There was a consensus that I had really gone off my rocker with this one.  Not true!  She is (just turned 3) quite an amazing Luna. She did scare my grandnephew silly, but he had an awful experience with a Dalmation hurting him.  Luna is a Love.
So, here are my present-day kids, I mean, here are my dogs!  They stand in for my kids.  They are not my kids, they are dogs.  They allow me to gush over them, play with them, go out into the wilds of the vineyards with them, take them to puppy class, learn to NOT chase chickens, even put up with a weird collar or two (no costumes).

We are not putting up a Christmas tree because Emerson would (maybe, maybe not) tear it down (after all, he did knock over the rocking chair yesterday), and at the very least, he would chew through the cords.  Last year Luna got up on the dining room table to investigate the baby Jesus, who knows what would happen this year.

Really.  I just am not putting up a tree.  I do not want to remind myself that the girls won't come over.  My plan is to focus on the Solstice, to gather my fire within, to set my intentions for the coming year, to burn the old in the Solstice fire, again.  

Also, I have come to resent being called "a consumer!"  So I am purchasing very little.  First and foremost, I am a Being.  I love my family: my kids, their kids, my siblings, their kids, the kid's kids, my aunts and in-laws.  My gifts this year will include a home-made prayer of Love and Peace for all.

And I am so grateful for my dogs.  I know that may sound goofy, but they are "mine" and I get to lavish affection, love, and training (myself, mostly) on them without restraint.  All they return for my grumping, mistakes, tears, teasing, sometimes-missing-the-walks... is Love.  And I am grateful.




Annie said...

So bittersweet and yearning. I wish we were neighbors. You would be with us Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Merry ME said...

This is a beautiful post - bittersweet as Annie says. For some strange reason wven with all the difficult personalities and opportunities for disaster something in me longs for the togetherness of years gone by. My childhood? A time when my mom was in charge not me? All I had to do was be present! I didn't know yet about trying to make everyone happy!

I don't know about the Solstice. But I like what you say about it. I'll have to do some investigating. Perhaps I've started gathering my fire within and didn't even know it.

A handmade prayer of love and peace. Does it get any better than that?

Sorrow said...

The best gift given, is the one we give ourselves. The one where we let go of the expectations, and the needs that are wrapped up in other people. When we live in the moment, and give, just for the sake of giving, and find a heart full of gratitude for all that brings us joy.
May the wild winter winds bring warmth to your heart and my the fire of light and rebirth burn long into the darkness of your night.
peace on the path to you
and yours.

N2 said...

A lovely sharing of memory, longing, sorrow and joy, all mixed up together. That is what Christmas brings us each year, non? Know that you are loved. x0 N2

Bethany said...

Gosh, sounds like you were mommying constantly for a long while. I'm sorry there's such sadness now and discontent. I love your attitude though. YOu're right about just sweeping your front step. I like that.
I like too your doggie love. I know just what you mean.
Love the images of riding in the car and the homemade gifts, esp Raggedy Annes for everyone. WOW! I bet they loved those and each have their own memory of it.
Peace to you.

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