The past week is a blur of seemingly endless errands, and then lessons and classes, rehearsals and a concert. I’m sick, and I’m tired, and we are still in the thick of it. I sent a video of Keats playing violin during his homeschool orchestra’s Christmas concert to my Aunt Genie, adding the words, “Sitting in this concert tonight. Very tired.” The concert was beautiful and I was so proud of both Keats and Larkspur, who was playing her flute with the band. I was also dead tired from all the planning, preparing, and my goodness, the driving.
Aunt Genie wrote back, “I know you’re tired, sweet girl. Young motherhood is so magical but so exhausting that you have to keep shaking yourself awake so you won’t miss it.”
And of course, then I was crying. Yes, this is physically and mentally hard, but it’s also a gift. Each of our children carries a light, and I want to help mine grow that light and learn to share it. Not all seasons will be this intensely, beautifully exhausting.
Last night, I took Larkspur and Beatrix caroling with friends, literally carrying their lights from house to house. At some, we watched as folks turned out their lights, attempting to hide themselves from the girls waiting outside, song sheets in hand. I honestly couldn’t blame them. But at others there was pure, magical, Christmas joy. At one house we heard a young baby wailing inside. Two elderly women opened the front door, screaming baby in arms. The girls sang and the baby shushed, if only for a moment. The women explained that it was baby girl’s first time away from her mother. Oh, didn’t we understand that, my friends and I. We’ll always remember that baby and her smiling grandmas. At another home, the woman came out on the porch and sang along, so truly pleased. And when they finished singing, she couldn’t stop hugging and thanking the girls. And then there was the home where the elderly woman came out on her porch and listened, silent tears welling in her eyes. And I didn’t mind that I spent the day running errands. I forgot that my fingers and toes were freezing.
So here we are, in the octave before Christmas, making and sharing gifts, and trying to keep our eyes on the Greatest Gift. I’m knitting tiny doll shoes, carrying them everywhere in a bag that was hand embroidered decades ago by my great grandmother. My girls are frantically pulling together their own last minute gifts, and I’m thankful that I am almost ready with my own. Seth, not always one ready with a gift, handed me a tiny hand turned cherry mushroom recently, and then followed it up with another, and another, in both holly and maple wood. He has no idea how I will always treasure them, just as I carry these memories and their songs in my heart.