The winter Solstice occurred today. It is that magical moment when the earth spins slowly from autumn into winter and the shortest day of the year gives way to the longest night. It’s one of my favorite days of December. A month full of magical days, it stands out as nature makes its big shift to the next season. A few days later Christmas happens. There was a time when I believed that the angels surely heard all of our prayers at such a magical time.
When I was young, I adored December. I recall breathlessly leaving church after midnight mass, joyous Christmas hymns still ringing in my ears, running into a dark, clear, brilliant cold and a sky with a million stars overhead. It was easy to believe in something greater than ourselves. But that innocent faith has been tested time and again. One December I lost my dad. Two Decembers we had a child in the hospital. One December I was sick myself. But one December I bore a beautiful child. One December we celebrated in our new home. Two Decembers we frolicked in the mountain snow. Many Decembers were simple and joyous, that childlike anticipation of things unseen, wish lists fulfilled and gifts for all. Some Decembers were scary.
I still love December. It has always been for me a month of light and song. Of birthdays and holidays and peace on earth. There actually seems to be a Christmas spirit. People “adopt” families so that they might also have a great Christmas. They give toys and food to the various drives. They donate money. All of which is glorious but sadly only once a year. People also spend too much money on meaningless stuff, stress over gifts and parties, eat and drink too much. It is a time of excess as is never seen any other month. It is a month of contradictions. It is the month that gives hope to those who have had a bad year that the end is in sight and a new beginning on the horizon. It can be the loneliest month of all for many.
Sadly, this December there is not peace on earth. Indeed peace seems like an elusive shooting star. This December holds a lot of fear and mistrust in our communities and in our world. Violence and hate are at an all time high. We all look over our shoulders suspiciously at those dressed differently or worshiping in a different way. There is so much fear of the unknown and very little faith in what can be. The drumbeat of war seems closer and closer.
And still the earth continues it’s natural journey despite the deeds of humans. The word Solstice dates back to Middle English with Latin roots and loosely translates as “sun standing still”. If it were possible to wish upon that brilliant star in the east I would wish that the epic shift that happens in nature during the Solstice could happen in the hearts and minds of people the world over. That for the briefest moment we would all stand still as the sun’s rays burst over the horizon and illuminated us all as one. Maybe that would be the best Christmas gift of all. Maybe that’s the greatest wish. Peace on earth. Blessed be.
Six months ago I started a written journey that has evolved in ways I could not have imagined. I made the decision to take my writing from journal to public forum. I thought that maybe I could examine this role of motherhood that I have been growing into for almost thirty years and give myself some insights and yes maybe assuage some guilt and correct some fumbles I had experienced along the way. Much like motherhood, the journey has been awe inspiring and as frightening as anything. Complete strangers can read what I write and comment or not. They didn’t need to be nice. I could not expect that. Yet I made the decision to put myself out there no matter what the reaction might be. I was doing this for myself.
I wasn’t quite sure how to go about all of this. I’m not that computer savvy and yet I did set up my own blog site. Not that it was all that hard, I mean they practically do it for you but I was proud of my accomplishment. I also aligned myself with other bloggers to try to figure out what they were doing right. Many had published beyond their personal blog and I wanted to learn that. It is an interesting community to be a part of. There are so many voices, so many points of view. Who was I to think that mine could offer any other insights or topics that hadn’t been written about ad nauseum? But I barreled through, examining life as a mom with two children.
Having the opportunity to raise a child from birth is a both a blessing and a daunting task. There is so much responsibility, lots of doubts, a few regrets. I know I have not had my finest moments in dealing with some situations. It’s a relief that my children have reached adulthood relatively unscathed or so I believe. I don’t think any parent can truly know what their impact, good or bad, has been on their child’s development. I have said before in this forum that we all just do the best we can with what we have. And would I truly want to know my negative impact if they needed to tell me? Could I handle it?
Yet I look at who they have become and I am so proud. And I know I had something to do with that as well. Now I am looking at things almost thirty years out. Some old adages tell parents that they will ruin their child’s life not matter what they do but I think children do well despite some of their parent’s actions. I’ve known people who have come out of horrendous family situations and yet their strength and resilience has seen them through. Others are not so lucky. Maybe Darwin was on to something when he wrote about survival of the fittest. The issue with humans is the complex emotional life that we have makes that lack of survival a tragedy, sometimes with horrible consequences if that person lashes out. We have seen evidence of this far too often in recent times.
I have become a writer, yes, I dare to say it! It has been cathartic for me to write about these things. Some of my blogs have veered into the political and religious realms, topics I had no intention of ever discussing but these are uncertain times. I worry about the world and my children’s lives in it. And if I am to have a voice why must I censor what I say? Isn’t that the point of coming into a public forum? Still, six months later I only have my toes in the water and it’s a huge ocean out there. How far do I walk in? That remains to be seen. For now I will just enjoy each wave as it comes my way.
For my birthday recently I was given several beautiful journals and lovely pens. There could have been no better affirmation from my friends and family that I should continue writing. I am grateful for the support of all who read my blogs and yes even those who do not agree with me and say so. That is all part of the territory. But whether they agree or disagree the one common factor is that they are all reading. And it’s that I appreciate most.