Here are some things I can’t do anything about: impeachment, a murder in Ohio, or the whole thing in Venezuela. But I can handle things in my comparatively tiny life.
Christmas 2019 brought my whole family together.. Children, their children, significant others and a couple of us who used to be married to each other. There we were all sitting around the Christmas tree at the home of my former husband and his wife. We are an odd collection of humans.. but we are, as they say, an American family.
In November, my oldest son posted a new family picture of his Boston brood on Facebook. It was the kind of picture moms salivate over, loaded with those faces I adore against a brilliant backdrop of fall foliage in their yard. I was going to steal it from his page, but then Christmas happened.
My former husband’s wife began opening a gift from my son. I saw the flash of yellow and gold leaves in the shape of a family picture and I knew what it was. I was thrilled.. And then I wasn’t.
What if there was no package in that shape under the tree for me? What if the boy had given his stepmom the coveted picture, and not me?
This was the pivotal moment. How would I act? Pout? Run crying from the room? Project stony silence?
Years in the making, this moment was easier than I thought it would be. It turns out there WAS a present like that for me. But if there hadn’t been.. here’s how it would have played out: I would have felt sad, but privately pulled the boy aside and asked how I could get one of those pictures. The end.
I can handle it. No dramatic productions. No guilt inducing tirade. I can be kind. I can be genuinely happy for another, and I can understand – even if I don’t want to.
We can do hard things, and then.. almost without thinking, it comes naturally. Our family is proof. I promise.