There were two that fell by the wayside this season. Two things I always do that never got checked off the list. There were miles logged in the kitchen this year. This year. The year of all years for me. One of the most trying for our little family (not so little any more). Those miles, those hours would have perhaps been better spent doing those two things. But as he always does, as he always will, and for this (without knowing it) I married this man: Craig fills in the blank spots. The gaps I create. He did those two things in one. He found the "still in the spinning" this year.
Every year since our marriage (nearly six years back), I've written a letter to my family: laying out in words the "internal"--that accompaniment to the "external" events of the past 365. Also, on the Eve of Christmas, carrying on what was read by my mother each year (through sniffles), we pull out O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi". Sadly, neither was done.
The Gift that the Magi give is the gift of selflessness. But it is also the giving of a gift that illustrates an understanding. I'm beginning to understand, myself, that this is all any of us wants or needs, this gift of understanding from those we love. There is a moral reflection: "That life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating." So in this ride of hard knocks where our behavior knocks hard at the door of "falling short" we just want people to try to see us for who we are. To notice those things that are important to our survival. Those little things that play big. It is not a tortoise shell comb or a fancy watch chain for me. But it is close. I haven't cut off my long flowing hair or sold the watch, but I've put up on a high shelf a self that I haven't known since giving birth to the son that made me a mother. I happily did this and sacrificed a few things: some quiet, some solitude, some of a little of who I thought I was.
This year, Craig wrote a letter. I told him, when he asked, "all I want for Christmas is a letter from you." The man can write. He's not a novelist, but he does something with words that stir me. He wrote of the woman that he knows during the year of years. He hit it on the nail, as he always does. It was a page of poetic prose set to the past year of our lives.
So, in an extra act that showed how well he knows his wife, I found the letter hanging above the toilet. Being pregnant, urination takes on an extra frequency. Lucy woke up yelling about something or other this morning early. Of course my first stop on the way back to my warm bed was the W.C. There, in the dark, was a rolled up piece of paper, typed on, dangling above. I sat, conveniently, and read, sobbed, sniffled, and smiled. Then crawled back in bed to kiss a slumbering husband. Content. Feeling content in my heart with what I've given and what I've gotten. The best Christmas gift.
We give and give. And we're misunderstood. When understanding surfaces and smooths the roughness of our edges it is only a type and shadow of He who understood the most and gave the most for us. I'm grateful for a loved one who loves enough to follow This Lead and to love with understanding.
"Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."