The Christmas Story

For Christmas, Lance and I got the boys nerf guns. We thought it’d be a fun thing for them to do in the winter months.

After we opened presents, we were all sitting around chatting and we started an impromptu nerf gun war.

It was fun.

For those few minutes I felt freely happy.

Not “put a smile on my face.”

Not hyphenated happy.

Freely happy.

Then I got shot in the eye.

As I laid there holding my eye, I thought, I’m not allowed to be freely happy anymore. That part of my life is obviously done.

If I feel freely happy then it’ll cause physical pain, mental pain, or emotional pain. It’s just not in the cards for me.

I was thinking about it more as I sat in the ER with my mom. Then throughout the rest of the day.

At the end of the night, the seven of us made goals of service and love that we can do throughout this year.

This is mine: to be freely happy with my family.

It’s not an easy goal because if I’m trying, then it’s putting a smile on my face.

Instead, I’m going to try in live in the moment more.

I’m going to put myself in more situations with them that I can let go. That I won’t feel so hyphenated. If only for a few minutes.

I want my boys to have more than a hyphenated mom.

I’m realistic. I don’t think I’ll experience it daily or weekly or probably even monthly. But experiencing it five times in 2019 will be more times than I experienced it this year.

That’s a win.

That’s starting to live a Rory life-loving life.

Like We Used To

I had a dream last night. Something that doesn’t happen often.

Rory was there. I recognized her but she felt a little older.

We pressed our foreheads together, touching our nose.

Beauty. Joy.

Then we pulled away. She ran her index finger down my nose and smiled.

She said, “Just like you used to.”

I stayed in that moment with her face glowing at mine.

Perfection.

Joy and Grief

Pendulum

I’ve heard this concept explained in a few different ways but my favorite is the visual of the pendulum.

On one side there’s extreme joy.

On the other extreme grief.

Then in between are various levels of grief and joy.

When one experiences great joy with a person, when that person is gone, great grief is felt.

I experienced extreme joy with Rory. Which then leaves me with extreme grief.

Would I be willing to give up the joy I had with her to now lessen the pain I’m in?

Would I give up the daily kisses and hugs that made me feel special?

Would I give up the hilarity of watching her try out new dance moves?

Would I give up the comfort of her morning cuddles?

Would I give up the extreme pride I felt when I watched her conquer her anxiety?

Would I give up the funny faces she would make with me at church?

Would I give up making her my buddy for those years? Taking her everywhere?

Each of those make the pendulum tip a little higher.

That girl.

She brought extreme joy to our lives. Her absence has left extreme grief.

But I’ll take the grief.

I’ll live with it for the rest of my life. Because it meant that she was part of it.

Part of me.