Pumpkin pie, neighborhood walks, dog hugs, pasta, hugs, sweet goodnights, and more hugs. What do all of these things have in common? They are the memories of precious times with my grands. As I drove the long flat roads that carried me away from Texas, I slowly untethered myself from my everyday life. As I drove toward South Carolina, I carefully navigated the miles after miles of construction and I noticed the palpable excitement that rose with every passing mile. Soon, my destination was in sight. Hugs were liberally shared and we all readied ourselves for a night of sleep before a big day of baking and cooking.
Oh, the joy of celebration with family. It had been ten years since we shared a holiday together. The irony wasn’t lost on me that as the world hunkered down and observed this day of giving thanks separate from their family and friends, I was doing the opposite. I was traveling to be in the space and love of my daughter, son-in-love, and my precious grands. My dear “favorite grandson” innocently asked “Can you stay until Christmas, Grandma Texas?”. How sweet this child is.
This year all of our observances and rituals are turned inside out and upside down, yet the meaning of the days of our lives remain steadfast. It is in the giving of thanks that we find joy. It is in the joy that love is made even more grand.
Returning to Dallas, after bittersweet “until next time” hugs, I found a radio station playing Christmas music. As the sun shone through my rear window and pink and purple streaks painted the western sky, the moon was making its journey over the horizon and hung low on the treetops in the fullness of itself. There is a feeling of joyful contentment for having filled my cup with love and hugs, for having spent a time of thanksgiving for all whom I love, and for what is yet to be.
I don’t give up on 2020 just yet. Along with the harshness of its realities, babies were born and new life began. Along with the eeriness and sometimes brooding heaviness, couples were married, songs were written, adventures were realized, and for many life continues.
And it’s Christmas! A time of remembering that life is born through the Advent gifts of Faith, Peace, Love, and Joy. I hum along to the traditional Christmas carols. I drive on down the highway, I am reminded that as the miles go by and the scenery changes, as morning slowly moved to nightfall, there is hope in my heart for a brighter tomorrow. There is hope in the smile of Gary, my grandson. There is love in the heart of Erica, my granddaughter. The future is bright in the mind of Emily, my granddaughter. They have fed my heart, raised my spirit, and sent me onward. I return to Dallas and to Unity on Greenville refreshed, restored, a few pounds heavier, and well hugged upon.