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…of how oranges, toothbrushes and games at the coffee table get in the way of writing

Part 2. Actually, the conclusion.

Yep, I knew they’d settle in with a couple dogs, half a dozen entrees and twice as many sides, a baby grand sitting in the corner beside a wall of glass overlooking a Sierra canyon, making new friends and treasuring family, and hand-shaped pastries cradling autumn’s harvest of pumpkin and fruit and fluffed cream… all wrapped in a memorable Thanksgiving at Frank’s.

The next day brought the simple luxury of time at home, and keeping cozy while shopping Black Friday cyber-sales.

Oh, the joys of sleeping in and just hangin’ out together. Without turkey leftovers, though, the kitchen beckoned. Maybe I should nourish the family with something other than cold cereal and toast.

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Later that weekend the kids drove away. Don’t cry, Mom.

No time for tears. Too much to do before Christmas.

Interspersed through the hours creating new memories and celebrating reminiscence of shared past, I find little time for letting thoughts flow… between lingering at the dining table, letting our killer instincts loose in Dutch Blitz, using every free moment for catching up and becoming reacquainted with my babies behind adult faces and forms…

Rare urgings press within to expose the contents of my heart when loved ones gather mid the warmth of home…

Like there is when life brings changes,

when life is lonely,

or bitter,

frustratingly confused.

Two and-a-half weeks later they returned down our drive. Soon the newest topic of conversation included why oranges were such a treat in early American stockings, and how excited (*clears throat*) they would be to discover new toothbrushes in their stockings again.

So, maybe this will be our last year of doing Christmas stockings, since you two are getting older now…?  I suggested.

What?!?! No! Don’t do that! Stockings are the best part!

Yep. The best part of opening presents. Because tucked among new toothbrushes and deodorant, gum and lip gloss, a few really cool unexpected treasures await. Like a gift card to Jamba Juice. Or a pair of earrings.

One year I fit a new digital camera in their stockings.

No sticks or coal at our house.

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Too soon the Christmas-related activities were done. Already in the past. History.

And my Christmas cards sat, still unsigned, unsealed… obviously not yet mailed.

This month I’m sending “Happy New Year” and “thinking of you” cards.

Instead of ice skating in Yosemite on her birthday, she cocooned on the sofa with a stuffy nose and fever. During this year’s Christmas break her age increased by one more digit, Turning 18 seems like just a few months ago. I’m not ready to be  19 yet.

A week later she was back on the sofa with puffy cheeks—and minus two wisdom teeth.

I should write an essay: how I spent my Christmas vacation.

At least it was somewhat memorable… and we got her car fixed.

It was her first birthday, though, when she couldn’t enjoy her birthday cake (because at our house when they’re sick, we say abstain from sweets).

And her first birthday when Mom wasn’t home all day, and she didn’t get her birthday hug till almost bedtime.

Oh well… she did catch up on sleep. That should count for something.

Maybe it’s the gentle souls who vent in the negative on paper instead of face to face. In releasing sorrow or wondering why rejection comes, through unspoken words, no one suffers from blows unseen, when personal hurt is detaches from self… in chronicling the puzzles and inconsistencies of human nature.

When sharing good news via social media, I risk appearing calloused to those who grieve. But not everyone wants to read marathon accounts of depression. Or mundane everyday-ness. What to express, how much to share and how often…?

Or declarations from paint can and rage, shouting words in red and black, emblazoned on structures to be read by passers-by.

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In keeping the fluctuating heights and depths of emotion to ourselves, by journaling in private or posting for others who’ve chosen to read, feelings rise to the surface, honest questions remain secluded, away from accusing ears and eyes.

In busyness glimpses of my blessedness pass, and inspiration drifts on the breeze in the opposite direction, before I have time to retrieve…. The weight of heavy emotion pushes out what’s painful, ugly, before having time to camp, transforming the inside into someone I don’t want to be.

Writing is healthy. Waiting and pondering, as well, before unleashing every impression or opinion. To later be regretted. But when life squeezes out cocoon-time, it’s good to live, too. (Just be sure to scribble a few notes for referring to later.)

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