This week has been quiet. The children are on Christmas break. I went into the office Monday morning for a couple hours with Bella to get a couple things I needed to do before taking the whole week off to be with my loves. Bella sat at my desk and colored, chatting with me while I organized and put together last minute touches for our Christmas Eve service. She snacked on Christmas goodies and visited and laughed with my co-workers, and I found myself watching her with that parental wonder I tend to have when my children are doing something so ordinary to others but so grown up to me.
I think that’s what defines me this week as I have shared days with my loves. They are growing up so quickly and are such fun to be around.
My children are in what I like to call that in-between stage. They are mostly self-sufficient, needing little of my energy to care for them, but they aren’t independent yet and Ash can’t grab car keys (like he will in two years!) and drive off to friends’ homes. Instead we are home and quiet and cozy. They fix their breakfasts (or lunches if they wake too late for breakfast), clean up after themselves, help with chores and all the extras of life at home.
I did do a grocery store run early on Tuesday, and after an hour of wandering aisles and packing up groceries, I headed to the parking lot where I almost passed out from exhaustion, shaking the whole drive home and crying over how limited I still feel. While Brian carried my bags in from the car, I lamented this weakness. I just want to feel whole again! But at the same time, I am thankful for no chemo treatment until January which means a little more strength each day.
The days here have been lazy and lovely. Sleeping in means something different for each of us, but we are all enjoying it. Bella-girl and I wake earlier than the others and curl up together in the quiet of the morning with coffee and soft blankets and Cooper.
We’ve filled our days with games of Life and Monopoly Deal and Two-handed Spades, wholesome snacks, reading books, organizing the playroom and culling out old toys to donate to others. I’ve worked bit by bit each day to prepare for our traditional Christmas Eve Italian stew and Christmas morning breakfast, and Bri has run last minute errands for stocking gifts.
We have watched Christmas movies and Ash, who doesn’t really enjoy them but humors me and watches, is catching the jokes that used to go over his head and laughs out loud. I love his laugh. How is he so grown up? Parental wonder.
Bella has been baking and cooking and spending hours in the kitchen. She made a meal for a family in our church, baked our Christmas morning cheese braid, and a couple apple pies. I love watching her putter around the kitchen, tossing cinnamon and sugar over apples without measuring, rolling out dough, pinching salt into muffins. She is a fabulous cook! How is she baking almost completely on her own? Parental wonder.
Bear has been crafting and drawing and helped me with all our Christmas letters, stuffing and stamping and chattering away with me late into the evening last night. “I just like being with you, Mom.” he says. How is he staying up late and having everyday, normal conversations full of wit and wisdom? Parental wonder.
It is so life-giving for me to be home with them, to be feeling marginally well, and to have no agenda except for quiet days.
Life at home.
This truly is a season of gratitude and joy.
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