This time of year is sometimes difficult for me. I miss the huge family gatherings and meals and the presence of those who were the core of these celebrating times for the majority of my years on this earth. I miss the smell of my grandmothers cooking that would engulf me upon entering the kitchen and permeate throughout the entire house. I miss the traditional Christmas Eve exchange where my cousin and I would make fun of my mother who took such care to conserve as much wrapping paper as possible for re-use year after year. (As eco-conscious as I am now, I cringe at my younger self for all the waste I created poking fun at her frugality.) I miss the intense card games between my aunts and uncles at my dads side of the familys Christmas get togethers. I miss many things. But I also find solace in all those memories, and continued awareness in how lucky I am to have had those experiences. And most importantly I am increasingly thankful for what continues to provide grace to my soul. For what is gone something new comes to take its place and I am abundantly blessed more each day. I have beautiful, healthy, caring, amazingly wise children who bring so much joy to my heart. I have many beautiful, sweet, inspiring friends. I have the pleasure of sharing time, space, experiences, dinners and conversations, with them. Friends whose energy touches my soul in such positive ways. I have wonderful family members who I am lucky to not only spend time with frequently but to watch our children grow their own bonds just as we did as children. I have a home that has deep roots spanning centuries and countless generations. I have gifts of abundant creativity. I have a deep love and appreciation for myself and an awareness in that self that grows more each day. And though the presence of some may be missing, I continue to receive gifts from those losses.
Where my grandparents are all gone now, I have wisdom learned from decades of time spent with them that I continue to pass down to my children. I have the traditions we keep carrying on. I have my grandmothers sand tart recipe and the experience of spending a day this week with my mother in the same kitchen, using the same rolling pin her hands put their energies on through her lifetime. I have reconnected with a few old friends and have been thoroughly enjoying reminiscing about our younger years, waxing philosophical about many facets of life, and sharing continued email conversations with one that feels much like the handwritten letters shared many moons ago. I have memories of connections that still continue to take up residence in my heart and hope that gentleness, kindness, forgiveness and release will continue to overcome resentment and bring peace to where it has long needed to come. It’s presence, time and connection that matters. It is having patience with ourselves and our loved ones in all aspects of our journeys. It is the ever-growing grace that grows larger each day.
I am thankful for those that I have in my life and for those whose presence is missing from my life in one way or another. I am thankful for the lessons that come to me in each situation I am faced with.