The past few weeks have been unusually busy for me. I have PTSD, and if I want to be able to do the things I love doing this time of year, I have to keep my stress under control. I’ve been pretty good at keeping things low-key around the holidays, but this year got away from me, and I have been having a hard time coping. Most days, that just means that my mind keeps going completely blank, or I find myself having to stop whatever I’m doing to just spend time with Serenity, or reading a book while she plays, so that I don’t have a panic episode. I really sincerely hate panic episodes. Other days, it means I accomplish nothing except to be a loving wife and mother, even if that means being a terrible blogger or housekeeper.
So you’d think this would bother me! Serenity didn’t accidentally knock over the Christmas tree, guys. She saw her cupcake ornament hanging near the top, screamed “Cookie!!!”, and grabbed the tree with both hands and chucked it over onto the floor.
I had to pry the cupcake out of her fingers while she writhed on the floor, kicking and screaming, “Cookie!! Nooo, mommy! Muh COOKIE!!!!!” and trying to bite me – or the cupcake. I’m not honestly sure which.
There were time outs. Several of them, all in a row, until she relaxed and apologized, and became human again, having finally exorcised the Cookie Monster demon. And we cleaned up the tree together, singing the theme from Elmo’s World, and Jesus Loves Me, and marveling at the wonder of shiny plastic balls that hang on faux pine trees in living rooms.
And you know what? I didn’t feel even a little bit overwhelmed or panicky. I didn’t struggle to stay mentally tuned in, or feel the need to step away from the situation to breathe. I was okay.
That’s huge for me! Just a few moments before the tree crashed to the ground, I was practically gnashing my teeth over gift guide deadlines. But in that moment? I was who I am most meant to be right now. Serenity’s mom. And it wasn’t about a fallen tree or broken ornaments or clay cupcakes or tantruming, disillusioned toddlers. It was about living in that moment, knowing that it was all going to be just fine, even when it’s not fine. Thanking God that I have a wild and imaginative child in my life to destroy my things, that are all just things, unimportant.
I didn’t always have this gift of motherhood. We struggled for four years and through two aching losses for our Serenity. And I have struggled through more years than I can count to live a life free from fear and anxiety and disappointment and longing for something I couldn’t grasp.
Contentment. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving in the midst of both good and bad, big and small. In the midst of fallen Christmas trees and beheaded Joseph nativity figurines (yep, that, too), I find peace. Jesus isn’t just the “reason for the season”, friends ~ He is always the reason. The reason. And I find great peace and encouragement in that, and after so many years of struggle, knowing that he isn’t just “there”, but in me – in me!! – is more than enough.