The kids left yesterday for a week. I have six solid days of freedom, both from parental duties and (largely) from work. I feel alternately exhilarated and panicked. The days are all my own. And…the days are all my own.
This is the second Christmas I’ve spent alone. This year, like last, I spent the day walking. Ten miles; up Baldy, down to Phoenix Lake, around through Fairfax and back home. It was beautiful out there, breath-taking, clear from yesterday’s rain, the winter sun low in the sky, hours of golden light.
As I walked, I thought. About the last couple years - Ben and I officially separated on New Year’s Day two years ago. About Christmases past. About the family I was born into. About my mom, who I still ache for. About my dad, who I still can’t figure out.
They’ve been beautiful, these last two Christmases. Silent. Sometimes it’s nice not to have to talk to anyone, not to have to chat, to make conversation, to please someone. But every person I passed on the trail said “Merry Christmas”, a greeting I always returned. And every time it was jarring. Oh yeah, it’s Christmas. A day about tradition and family. Not always a happy day but usually an important one.
I spent Christmas Eve with Megan and Evany, my best friends of over thirty years, with their husbands, their kids, mine. They are my family. In this long transition between my old married life and whatever’s next, they are my people, just as they’ve always been. Their husbands are my people, their kids. And my kids, you don’t get closer people than that.
I have six days - okay, five now - to either fill or leave empty. Days before the new year. Days to find my north star (again), to listen to the whispers of my heart. To take a breath before stepping forward. Into what, towards what, who knows. All kinds of time, all kinds of quiet.