In remembrance of the emotional frenzy into which I whipped myself last Christmas, my only goal for this Christmas past was to keep my own stress at a minimal level and to just enjoy myself and the family. This endeavor was only tested once as I knelt before Chloe on Christmas day in Mom A's bathroom and surveyed the streaks of vomit that now decorated her white shirt, her jeans and her hair. It splattered around the toilet and slid across the sleeves of her parka, and for two seconds I fought back tears as they stung the backs of my eyelids.
They were not tears for throw up, but tears for Paul who was napping at home and safely removed from a puke-splattered seven year old; tears for his oldest daughter who hasn't quite figured it all out; tears for cranky attitudes; tears for homesickness, and tears for sleep deprivation. But, as I am learning how to do, I pulled it together, grabbed a roll of paper towels to mop up the offending detritus as thoroughly as possible, and poured another glass of wine.
Our Christmas should not be summed up in my own overwhelmed tears, but in family, in generous spirits, in good food and in celebration. It was with these attitudes that we trekked from one parent's house to the next--from Gig Harbor to Oak Harbor and back.
And although I didn't dwell on the fact, I knew in the back of my mind that this was the last Christmas to be celebrated in Oak Harbor--the last Christmas to be spent at home.
It was a good one.