Our Blessings

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve

3 years ago on Christmas Eve, 2009, I wrote this...

"it is currently 19 minutes into december 25th, and christmas is officially over for me. what a relief. i made it through the christmas eve service, with minimal tears and a hefty dose of denial. as we were walking out the door, john and i opened the mail and found a gift card to applebees from his cousins. and they were open, so that's where we had dinner after church. christmas dinner at applebees for bereaved parents: perfection. the waitress placed the food on the table, and john put ketchup onto his burger. as i poured sugar into my coffee and picked up my fork, i said, totally as if i was in passing conversation, "thanks for the food, happy birthday, i'm sad, amen," made eye contact with john, and we both laughed. that was that. when we paid the bill, it was completely covered by the gift card, so all that was left was to tip the waitress. john gave her all the cash in his wallet, which turned out to be just short of a 100% tip. he said, because it's christmas eve, and we know how it feels to work on a holiday. he also heard her saying her boyfriend was in iraq, and that she was a student. sometimes, i wonder how john's big heart doesnt just burst out of his chest. he's so very kind. i dont know how i can manage to be so blessed and so lucky, and yet so unlucky at the same time."

Just a few days ago on Christmas Even this year, we went to Applebees again, after church service again, because it was the only place open.  Who would have thought in my misery the last time we were there on Christmas Eve, that we'd sit at a table adjacent to the first one... this time with our little rainbow baby with us.  She was in rare form.. a massive grump, a little toddler grinch who hadn't had a nap that afternoon.  She had a few bites of an appetizer but was so tired and having one mini-tantrum after another that I had to take her to the car to calm down, with the suggestion just to get the rest of the meal to go.  It was frustrating sure, but I will take a grouchy toddler any day over that childless parenting miserable grief.  Our waitress also seem frazzled, not because of our grinch, but because apparently there was another table giving her a hard time. Over jalepenos, as John overheard.  Jalepenos, really?!  that's your issue?!  it's Christmas Eve!  3 years ago we sat here miserable because our baby was dead, not because they were out of jalepenos.  Tell me about a real problem.

When we returned from the car, Glory had calmed down and was eating little pieces of chicken with her bare hands right off the top of my chopped chicken salad with mango corn salsa... go for it my baby girl!  you can have as much of Mommy's salad as you want.  I will go without.  Because all I wanted for Christmas was her, anyway.   The only thing missing was my 3 year old.  Only.  Only that enormous hole in my heart.

The bill was around $30.  And John left $30 for the waitress.  100% tip again.  Just like last time.  For the crying, for the mess, for the jerks wanting jalepenos, for having to work on Christmas.  I still wonder how his heart doesn't burst with all that kindness.  And how mine doesn't burst from the constant overwhelming pull of heartbreak versus pure joy.

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