We can live our lives constantly laying it out, forgiving ourselves for mistakes and accepting that others forgive us and look past it.  Or we can live our lives stuffed inside a box, peeking out the top once in a while and quickly closing the lid when life gets tough.  I tend to lay it out, at times too much and usually at times that others wish I was in a box on the way to Siberia.

Let’s face it, this Christmas sucks.  I am without one of my sons and I am without two of my grandchildren.  I am down 4 people in total at any holiday gathering, birthday, graduation, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…etc..  I lost, period.

I gained a grandson this year, a sweet and beautiful baby boy that is absolutely the cutest baby anyone has ever seen.  I have a son and two daughters, a son in law, a husband, my mother and my brother.  We have employment, we have a home, we are able to drive to the places we need to go.  There is food in my refrigerator, my stove works, I am able to do laundry, clean the bathroom, take out the trash, and put clothes on every morning.  I can see, I can hear, I can walk, I can talk.  My mouth is still able to smile and kiss and tell those I love that I love them.

My hands can type this letter, they can wrap a present, and give a wave hello to a friend.  My heart beats, several times every minute. My lungs fill with air and my blood flows through my veins.  But it is my mind, not my brain…my mind.  It is my mind, the thing that is non physical in nature that blocks me from reaching forward.  Instead it keeps me looking back.

I do not know how to exist in this and I look to others to help me along my way.  I lay out everything in my life, my heart and my soul in hopes of someone, anyone, to give me that quick sure fire answer on how to cope.  It does not happen, because no one knows a quick and easy way to find hope.

I tried to be that good mother, the one that her children would look up to and go to for anything.  As you raise your kids and they push away from you it hurts.  When they don’t need you anymore, it breaks your heart.  When they become someone you do not know or understand it is confusing.  Each holiday was important beyond what anyone could know or understand, because I did not lay it out for everyone to see.  Christmas, birthdays, Valentines Day, Halloween, Grandparents day, Mothers day, Fathers day, Presidents Day, or even National Popcorn Day…it all means something.
Moms create traditions and keep them alive, sometimes when no one wants anything to do with it.  Moms try to show meaning and sense of family through day to day activities, through holidays, and by creating opportunities for people to become closer.  Moms give it the best they can and are at times left feeling unvalued, unneeded, unloved, cheesy, lame, stupid, mean, rotten and even the cause of the worlds problems.  That is because we continue to care, even when those around us do not.

How many times as a mother can you be kicked in the teeth before you start putting your hand up to protect them?  I don’t know the answer to that question.

As a Mom I have felt undying pride, love, and confidence.  And, as a Mom I have felt loneliness, disappointment, rejection, and self sacrifice beyond what was necessary.  My children never belonged to me, they belong to the world and it was my job to guide them safely so they can succeed as adults.  My husband and I sacrificed, willingly for all of the kids.  We did not preach but instead offered advice on life.  We gained the trust of most of them, we listened to their points of view and offered ours.  We helped them after mistakes, always forgiving, always willing to help. We tried to always be there when they needed us, when they would let us in.  We tried to build confidence, tell them they held the world in their hands.
So I struggle to find reasons for why everything is how it is today.  I am flooded with some memories that are too painful to remember and make me ill to think of.  I think of all the nights I went to bed worried and crying about one of my children, not knowing where they were for a long time.  I think of rejection, over and over and over. And then I think of my son, my son that will never be here ever again.  The pain I feel and the grief…it is the same pain and grief when I “lost” one of my children previous. Only this pain and grief for my son is deeper, with no end.

I read through the stages of grief again, finding myself in anger for the past month.  Angry at the world, angry at every parent that has their kids and has a happy life.  Angry at everyone that loves Christmas and has decorated a tree.  Angry at anyone that has bought presents and just moves on through Christmas without pain.  My pain is severely unreasonable, I know this.  It flares and calms, giving me moments of greatness and moments of pain.  The confusion continues, the anger still brews.
So, here I am. The Mom.  What is the tradition now?