Lately, moments of delightenment have been showing up in my life when I don’t expect them to.
Like today, when I really wasn’t feeling the Thanksgiving family get-together. I was in no mood to get up and shower. I was in no mood to drive the 10 minutes to my sister’s house. I was in no mood to play with my nieces and nephew and answer my mom’s probing questions. I was in no mood to eat (not even my mom’s famous sweet potato pie!) or help set the table or even…smile.
My plan was to sit home alone, watch bad holiday TV and play sad, somber host of my very private, pathetic pity party. “No plus ones, please” was in bold on the E-vite. No, you didn’t get an invitation. Because when I get this way, I don’t send the invitations out.
But, I went to my sister’s house anyway. As on any holiday, my sister was busy in her kitchen cooking up a mammoth holiday feast in her pink terry cloth robe, her hair hastily pulled in a high, loose bun. She looked radiant and content.
Her kids were drawing and on the computer and listening to music when I walked in. They came to me and hugged me and kissed me, took my bagfuls of avocados and limes (??? I have no idea!) and stayed close to me the rest of the afternoon.
My 82-year-old aunt was there. She’s feeble and suffers from a sort of dementia. But she recognized me right away, addressed me by name and when I bent down to hug her she gave me this big, toothy grin. My mom and my sister have taken on the daunting task of helping care for my aunt–helping in just about every way you can imagine caring for an aging person with dementia. It’s not easy. But they do it. I love them more for that.
I’d been at my sister’s house for a couple of hours. We’d eaten. I was satiated and so glad I’d come. My mom walked up to my aunt with a plastic bag.
“City,” my mom said, (ok, my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side have some ridiculous nicknames like City and Boochie and Cheechum but that’s not the important part of all this so just go along with it so we can get to my point.) “City,” my mom said, “look what I got you.” My mom pulled a little Christmas tree, no taller than 8 or 9 inches, out of the bag. She pulled out a little Christmas wall hanging–a gingerbread house I think. “And,” my mom said, “I got you some Christmas socks. See?”
My aunt turned slowly in her wheelchair, looked up at my mom with moist eyes, and said…”Huh???” So my mom repeated herself.
I watched quietly as all this went down.
My aunt, hearing my mom this time, beamed. She said, “Jean,” (yes, Jean. Somehow, my mom escaped being called a Pookie or Wheatcrisp or BoomBam.) My aunt said, “Jean, that’s for me? For me?” She looked so terribly happy. These holiday trinkets my mom got her to brighten her space and keep her aching feet warm appeared to make her entire month. I wanted to cry.
I wanted to cry again later when my aunt complained of having a cramp in her foot. My mom didn’t hesitate to kneel in front of her big sister and massage her toes until the pain went away.
By this time, I’d really forgotten about the rotten mood I’d been in earlier today. I was even able to distance myself from my thoughts that had fostered all those useless foul feelings.
Later on after getting a take-home plate of food and retrieving my untouched bagfuls of avocados and limes (??? I still have no idea!) I picked my daughter up from the fast food joint where she works. She said, “Mom, there’s this lady who comes in all the time. She’s really nice. She’s about 75 years old. She always orders a sugar-free French vanilla iced coffee with two creams and five Splendas. She seemed sad that I had to work and said that I should be home with my family. She told me she didn’t have any family. Mom, I feel sorry for that lady.”
I feel sorry for her, too, that 75-year-old lady with no family on this holiday at McDonald’s ordering coffee and wishing that my daughter could be home.
I know this may be a tedious and boring read. There are wars being waged around our world and people senselessly and brutally killed every day. There’s cancer and hunger. There’s pain and loneliness. Life will never be perfect.
But I needed to see what I saw and hear what I heard today. I needed to be reminded of all the goodness in my life. I needed to be with my family and remember how loved and appreciated I am simply for being me. And I needed to realize yet again, when I throw my personal pity parties to which no one is invited, the only person missing out on life’s real parties…is me.
All these moments of delightenment showed up for me today when I didn’t expect them to. And I can’t say strongly enough how thankful I am for that.
Okay, all that written, would it be awful of me to swipe those Christmas socks? They were festive! And I really don’t think my sweet, sweet aunt would miss them. Ooooh….too soon?
Till next time!