Posted in Celebration, Childhood, Faith, Family, Grief, Motherhood, Thanks

It’s Strange Here

I sit by my fire alone.

It’s strange here.

A year ago, my third-born was bursting through the door, overstuffed college laundry bag in hand, ready for a week of “rest” in the “best bedroom ever,” along with eating the ultimate “Taylor ham and egg on an everything bagel” sandwich every morning of his time with us.

This afternoon, I was driving him to the airport.  He is off to see his younger sister 2,726 miles away on the left coast.

A year ago, I was picking up my exhausted college baby girl up at the same airport, joy filling my heart as we chit-chatted on the way back to a house filled with family.

Today, my phone buzzes. “Can you send me Josh’s flight info?  Also, can I have the famous jello salad recipe?  I’m going to make it for Thursday.”  She is headed to buy the ingredients to make her favorite Thanksgiving dish at a grocery store I don’t even know the name of.

A year ago, my oldest fed her baby our family-secret sweet potato casserole in the same booster seat we used for her, surrounded by oohs and aahs from cousins and great-grandparents.

On her commute home from teaching second-graders earlier, she chatters away on the phone.  “When do you leave, Mom?  I’m hoping to get my grad school papers done on Friday.  We are just going to eat out with my mother-in-law on Thursday.  I might make the family-secret sweet potato casserole just to have leftovers.  ”  Her two-year-old babbles in the background, “I want to go that way.  I have a raccoon sticker.  I see a tractor.”

A year ago, the second child of my heart was on his way home from a land far away, new puppy in tow, ready to cuddle up on his favorite sofa, eat his favorite NJ pizza, and see his favorite friends.

“Just landed in Florida.  I hope you have a wonderful week” lights up across my laptop screen on Sunday morning.  He’s with his girlfriend spending the holiday with her family.   I can’t even tell you what town he is in.  Maybe somewhere near Palm Beach.  Not sure.

I sit by my fire alone.

It’s strange here.

Feelings bubble to the surface, unlike any I’ve had before.  I’m not sure what to make of them.

Thanksgiving has been together for 27 years.  The three of us.  Then the four of us.  Then the five of us.  Then the six of us.  PLUS, a whole bunch (and I mean a WHOLE BUNCH) of other family and friends and anyone who wanted to join the mayhem.

Pies.  Parade.  Mashed potatoes.  Dog show.  Family-secret sweet potato casserole.  Puzzles.  Turkey.  Football.  Ham for those who hate turkey.  Cousins.  Gravy.  Games.  The famous jello salad.  Beer-tasting.  Pictures (the one at the top of this website being last year’s).

I sit by my fire alone. 

It’s strange here.

No overflowing shopping bags filled with cranberry sauce and giant foil roasting pans.  No beds being prepped for guests.  No Costco runs for last-minute hors d’oeuvres.  Not even one decoration in sight except a pumpkin candle burning slowly behind me.

My husband, away on business, calls in the middle of all the feelings.  “You’re alone.  How are you?”

“I’m okay.”  I say.  “I like it in many ways.  I am glad for tonight.  But I’m glad I will see you soon.”

Tomorrow, I hop on a plane myself to spend a few days with my parents.  My man hops on his own plane the next day to join me.  I won’t be alone for long.

But right now, this alone thing gives me space.  Space to sit with my Savior and sort out this new normal I find myself in.

This new normal filled with sorrow that I am not seeing ANY of my four children.  To shed the tears that need to flow.

This new normal filled with thanks that I am seeing my parents, my groom and a grieving childhood friend.  To allow a warm smile to curl to my lips.

This new normal filled with bewilderment that this is actually where I find myself on the journey (I think Costco might send a search party).  To sit quietly, a questioning “hmmm” filling my thoughts.

This new normal mostly filled with hope that I might have just done this mom thing okay.  To embrace the idea that my kids are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing:  building lives of their own, going on new-found adventures, loving those they are with and best of all, making family-secret sweet potato casseroles and famous jello salads.

I sit by my fire alone. 

It’s strange here.

But it’s really good. 

I am grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author:

I am a wife, mom, daughter, women's group leader, sister, marriage mentor, friend, speaker and lover of Jesus.

8 thoughts on “It’s Strange Here

  1. Awww Esther. Sending you lots of love today … the strangeness of sitting alone …. so glad you can reflect on all the happy chaos of years before …. you carry that in your heart and it’s echoes are there. So glad you are not trying “ to rush to joy “. But I feel you sister. I’m sitting beside that cozy fire in my heart with you my precious friend.

  2. We are hosting a family with a kid home from college. He’s bringing a friend who lives too far away to make it home for Thanksgiving weekend. I don’t know the friend yet, but I want to call his mom and promise her that we will take good care of her baby. Is she doing ok? Is he her first? Her fourth? What’s his favorite dish? Will my kids sit around a stranger’s table one day?

    I love your post/it makes me cry for the day my table doesn’t look like it does today. Love you. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I so feel your heart. The holidays were always at our home but now its a new season where kids are far and much of the older generation is no longer with us. But there are wonderful memories to cherish and so many wonderful ones yet to come! Enjoy this peaceful Thanksgiving with your hubby and parents. Looking forward to my boys coming home for Christmas all the way from Cali and Japan!

  4. Esther, I appreciated your blog message. I think every Mother who has had to let go, has these feelings. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s not that you want it another way at this point….I think it’s that we have been very happy with all the past years of our family and they went way too fast. But it’s so good that we enjoyed them all. Now the trick is to be happy with all the years that are to come. My babies are grown and really so are my grands. My Granddaughter goes to college next year and my grandson continues to grow up. It’s too fast and the cycle starts over. I have very mixed feeling about all these things – I still miss my husband…..but, with God, I know that I have a future waiting for me. The song “Abide with Me” came to me earlier and it says that whether in life or death we have God with us. That’s good. Life here has changes; the promise of Eternal Life does not change.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your husband. Enjoy life as it is now.

    Love, Elaine

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