I am not going to lie. Today was as hard a day as I've had in a long time.
It started out pretty okay. I made the loaf of sausage and cheese bread and it wasn't too bad and I scrambled us some eggs to go with it. It was raining and windy and gloomy and just clammy but the camellias were bright pink and white against the green of their leaves and the Bradford pear leaves were orange and gold. The cardinals and the redheaded woodpeckers came and ate at the feeder in relative peace and respect.
Glen and I both believed that we had gotten each other the worst presents ever this year and I even cried a little because I was so embarrassed at what I'd gotten him. And then when he brought in this, I cried some more.
But then it was time to get to Lily and Lauren's house so we loaded up the presents and the food and headed over there and I knew as soon as we got there that it was going to be completely overwhelming for me. I hadn't been there for ten minutes before I told Lauren that I was having a disassociation attack (and there may not even be such a thing but that's how it felt, my mind slipping far away from my body) and she gave me a hug and that helped for that moment but it just kept getting worse. Five children, hyped on sugar and Santa, ten adults, everyone trying to talk across the room, more presents under the tree and lining the edges of the room than an orphanage would need, and not nearly enough space for us all. I started out sitting next to Mr. Moon on the couch in the middle of it but quickly moved to an outer corner and then, I absolutely had to go outside.
Maggie loved her Giant Barbie and all of the boys liked their pokemon stuff except for August who really wanted the same thing all the rest of them got. I got him what I'd gotten Levon for his birthday because that's what August had told me he wanted so...that's sort of on him but I'll probably end up getting him the other present too.
And there was so much more.
But for now, for tonight, I am completely done. I need to clean up my own kitchen. I want to take a good, hot shower with the Eucalyptus spray that Rebecca gave me to steam me up, and get in my cozy bed and read if I even have the energy for that.
Or at least they seem to be able to deal with it.
As hard as today was, I came away from it loving my family in even new ways. There is such a grace in giving and in receiving and I felt that I received a great deal today which was given in pure grace.
And if that's what Christmas was about this year, then I need to pay attention and realize it. To receive that grace with grace of my own, to accept the gifts of love I am given and be grateful.
It is something to strive for.