GENSUSA COLUMN: And just like that, it was over

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 2021

And just like that, it was over.  

Christmas came in with a fury, many furry friends, and left in a flash.   Why do such joyous times pass too quickly after so much planning and preparing for celebrations?

My Christmas began in October.  This was the year the entire family would be gathering at our house.  All our children, stepchildren, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, all in-laws, and a few out-laws as well.  Oh, and let’s not forget the furry pets that would come with them.   Now that I think about it, I probably should have begun in September!

The tree was decorated two weeks before Thanksgiving, menus were planned for multiple days, and there were so many shopping lists, I kept a file.  The grocery store down the street thought I was an employee and offered me an apron.  Amazon sends me notes questioning why I haven’t ordered something if I miss a day.  Now, I may apply for that job at the local grocery store to pay Amazon!

My dreams of a sugar plum Christmas filled with extensive gaiety began to crumble a few days before the much-planned holiday.   Omicron visited my husband’s daughter’s family with a bang even though the parents had two vaccinations each. Mother, father, and two precious small children fell ill when this uninvited intruder walked into Christmas. 

Because they were quarantined, they would not be able to join us.  We were heartbroken.  The house began to fill with guests and those furry critters as Santa was loading his sleigh.  Preparing all the meals and listening to laughter fill the house eased our worry, especially since the sick family was on the mend by Christmas Eve.

David’s other daughter with her little boy was to drive over early Christmas morning.  One of the presents for our 6-year-old grandson, Jax, was so large, I would require help to bring it downstairs and place it under the tree before he arrived.

However,  when my husband answered the phone in the wee hours of Christmas morning, I saw his face fall into shock. An ambulance had taken Jax to the hospital.  The flu invaded his little body and wreaked enough havoc on a vibrant soul to ruin his Christmas day.  Luckily, he was released after a few hours but would spend much of the next few days in bed.  His big present remains upstairs. Since we are usually a blended happy family, David could not see any of his children this Christmas, and he tried to smile as we gathered with the others and all the furry critters. 

He did an excellent job of masking his sadness, and we still argued about how to cook this or that, which put some normalcy back into the festive day. The day after Christmas, folks began to return to their homes.  My son and his love were the first to leave as they needed to catch a flight back to Denver.  After I waved goodbye as their car drove away, I turned back toward the house. 

I could see the crowd gathered in the foyer through the beveled glass in the front door.  Tears brimmed my eyes as I paused and watched the faces of those I love.  My husband was still smiling, dogs were jumping,  and children laughed as their parents hugged each other to bid goodnight.   I couldn’t help but wonder what changes would occur in the days ahead.  What heartache lies ahead of us, or what surprises are in store for us to enjoy?

As we watch a moment in time, one never knows what time will do. We walk a tight rope daily, taking each cautious step for granted.  I have learned no matter how much planning and preparing we do, life happens.   It can upend us, make us cry, and fill us with unbridled joy, especially when we love others.  Lives change, children grow up, we grow old and take our memories of it all with us.

The Christmas tree ornaments will be packed away, and the house will fall into an eerie silence as I begin to sweep up crumbs and dog hair.   I will continue to worry about the children as they grow and the others as they age, and I pray we will all be together next December. God reminds me to watch life as if I am looking through a glass door and realizing that all I see is a gift from Him to me. 

He tells me to trust Him through the pain and illnesses and praise Him for the joy.  Because he knows life begins in a great fury, and just like that, it is over.          May you take these words into 2022, appreciating each day and those gifts God bestowed you.