I have to tell you, I don’t completely understand last year’s gifts. My husband of 27 years left me, in an emotional drama that hardly bears looking at or mentioning. I’ve had to learn to be single again, get a new job (since I had quit mine to follow his to Pennsylvania), and start to craft a new life for myself. I have to tell you, it’s been hard sometimes, Santa dear, to see the beauty in any of that.
Yet, here’s what I’ve managed to make of it. Within about 6 weeks of driving away from Pennsylvania, I had a therapist, an attorney, a full-time job, and was back in the house. Within 6 months of that, I was back at the university -in a part-time sort of way. Within another 5 months, and in this economy, I had secured a new job, increasing my income a bit, but also easing many other things about my life. I’ve moved from a job that was fine and that I was grateful to have, to a job that challenges me and makes me smile. I am grateful every day for that.
Of course, I haven’t done any of these things alone. The children, who of course have always been fabulous, have been stupendous supports and friends. Now that they are all grown up and pursuing their own careers and interests, we have moved to a new kind of relationship, and I am just delighted that they are willing to hang out with me. I see each of them at least once a week. Nicholas has recently moved into a duplex in a town north of here, but we go rock-climbing almost every week. (Yes, Santa, rock-climbing at 50! You should try it, although I understand that you might be a tad older than 50.) Victoria and I mostly just hang out, but she has taken an interest in helping me restore and remodel this big old barn of a house that I love so much.
My siblings and friends are wonderful –not that I didn’t know that, of course. But one learns it again and with new power when the chips are down. They have served as reality checks, staunch supporters, and as occasional dispensers of tough love. Mostly, though, they have staggered me with the simplicity (in the very best, most elegant, sense) and strength of their love.
So, Santa, maybe some of this has been gift in my life. I have learned all kinds of important things. I’m still plagued by grief for my marriage. Yet those moments, while powerful, are rarer than they used to be. And if nothing else, I’ve learned that I can survive them. I am starting to glimpse the young woman I was before my marriage, when all was possibility, and I was sure of myself and my place in the world. She’s starting to re-inhabit my psyche, and that’s pure delight.
But seriously, Santa, can I just have a puppy this year?