We have put Christmas in the corner this year...literally. This holiday season has been about surviving. Taking one day at a time and no more. Not biting off more than we could chew. We werent feeling very festive this year to say the least. So Christmas got put in the corner like a little kid in time-out. Being punished for hurting our hearts and reminding us of all we lost.
I miss Callie.
I wish she were here to cry when she meets that freaky looking guy named Santa for the first time. I wish we were buying her loads of presents and dressing her up in Christmas jammies. I wish this had all been a bad dream that we could wake up from. But it's not.
So, we are sad...but happy too. We simultaneously grieve for our sweet Callie and celebrate our precious Rainbow. We cry for each "first" that was stolen from our angel, and smile when our newest little one reaches important milestones. The contrasts are infinite.
Over the past month, I have had moments that brought me to my knees and ones that lifted my spirits. Take these for example...
On the day before Winter Break, a visitor to my school saw me walking down the hall, innocently minding my own business, lost in thought, thinking of what I needed to prepare for my afternoon class. When she noticed my belly, she said, "Oh, aren't you cute?" To which, I thought Wow, that was nice, until the follow-up ultimately came..."Just keep in mind when you think you have it rough...Just remember that I had twins." I stopped dead in my tracks, stunned by her words. I fumbled for something to say, but instead reached for the door to my classroom to escape. Of course, I thought of all the good comebacks after the dumb-dumb had left my sight. Like..."Oh, thank you for that wonderful insight. Here's one for you... Next time you think you have it rough, remember that my baby died. So go hug your TWO babies tight and think twice before you make ridiculous one-upping statements to perfect strangers. You never know what it is like to walk in someone else's shoes." That one is a little too long and preachy though...how 'bout this one..."Oh, by the looks of it, I thought you had triplets." Bitchy and satisfying.
I'll never get the chance to put her in her place though, and it's better that way. Even though she made a thoughtless comment, I know that somewhere in her small little cobwebbed mind she was coming from a place of kindness...I guess.
Which brings me to my second scenario. A little while back, after a particularly long and emotional day, I was winding down and doing a few of the dishes in our monstrous dirty dish pile. While I was washing, I felt my heart beating a little faster than normal..again. I've talked to my doctor about these palpitations and have learned that they are fairly common in pregnancy due to increased blood flow. But being me, my hypochondriac mind was occupied with thoughts of the worst. Maybe I should go to the ER??? I envisioned myself undergoing open-heart surgery at 21 weeks pregnant....
At that very moment, my phone rang. And in that instance, I joked to myself that God was calling, telling me to chill out. I gave a little chuckle and let it go to voicemail. I've told you before that my faith is not my strength, so it is a little odd for my conscious to be making jokes related to God. But whatever, it made me feel better. Weird or not. And I pushed the stupid hyperchondriac thoughts away.
A few minutes later, I checked my voicemail only to find a message from a pastor from my church. He said that someone had left a present for us and that he'd like to drop it by even though it was late. I couldn't believe it. Apparently, God has my phone number.
When Pastor arrived, he handed us a gorgeous poinsettia with a card that read,
"We know this holiday season is difficult for you. We are praying for you and thinking of you always."
He explained that a mother and daughter had left the plant but did so anonymously because she wanted her little girl to learn that giving generously doesn't always mean receiving accolades or credit for your actions. He went on to say that there was something waiting for us in Callie's garden as well.
When we arrived, there underneath the cross, rested a beautiful winterberry plant with a note attached that said: "Merry Christmas Sweet Angel".
The kindness of strangers once again moved me to tears. I truly believe that there are angels among us. You, me, a waiter at Maggianos. We can all be angels, instruments of God to be there for one another when we need it most.
And so our Christmas Corner was born and we officially got un-grinch-ified. The Christmas Corner is not really a punishment for hurting our feelings...more of an acknowledgement that this year is different and we aren't fighting it. All our gifts now rest underneath the poinsettia in the niche in our living room. Hanging from her branches is our Sunshine angel ornament, as we remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
Because on this day, a long, long time ago a very special baby was born. A baby who would change lives. A baby who would teach us about love and life.
For me, I will be remembering two babies this Christmas. The One who changed the world, and the one who changed mine.
Merry Christmas to all of you and thank you for your words, thoughts, gifts, and prayers. Thank you for remembering Callie in your hearts and minds as we do. Thank you for being our "earth angels".
And Merry Christmas to you most of all, sweet angel. We will love you forever.