Tonight, I began to decorate for Christmas. I put the tree up in the living room. I put another tree up at the window of the second floor. I put my the nativity on the buffet where it has always been, except that this year, the buffet is not in the dining room, but in the foyer, at the end of a stretch of gleaming hardwood floor, beneath a huge mirror. This year, my Christmas village is spread across a fireplace mantel. All these old things seem to belong in their new place.
I sit curled up on the sofa looking at my Christmas village. The first piece of that set was my own purchase. I remember looking at it way back when I first came back to Pennsylvania, when I had no idea how things would work out. Where would I work, where would we live, how could I take care of the children? The children felt my fear too.
I remember hearing Dylan crying in the bathroom once. I knocked on the door and he opened it. He looked at me and he was crying hard. He was afraid that I would never be able to afford college for him. He was afraid that we were always going to be poor. It broke my heart, but I held his skinny towel wrapped body close, and I promised him that it would be okay, that he would work hard and get good grades, and I would work hard too. I promised him that he would be what he wanted to be, and I meant it, even if I wasn't quite sure how it was all going to work out.
I was sick inside in those days. Filled with fear, self doubt. I was starting over, with three kids. In the middle of those hard times, I saw a ceramic house, a Victorian. I remember staring at it, and thinking how lovely it would be to have a house like that for my children. I just wanted a house, a place for us so desperately. On the spur of the moment, I bought that little ceramic house and I used it as a night light. I would fall asleep at night looking at it glowing in the dark, wishing. Praying. I just wanted to take care of my kids.
Over the years, it did work out. There was my Tim, and he was not afraid to make a new family. We both worked hard. We got four out of five through college, and now Brianna is taking classes, which makes me glad too. We have houses, and the house I sit in now is grander than anything that I ever could have imagined. My children are what they want to be. Come May, I will what I want to be as well. It amazes me how far we have come in these 15 years.
Looking at my little ceramic Victorian house in the middle of my Christmas village, I remember what it was like to be so afraid. How it would have eased my mind if, 15 years ago, I could have had a glimpse of what the future held. All these years later, I am ashamed at my lack of faith and my fearfulness. I am also awestruck at the sheer number of miracles in my life since then.
I look at that little illuminated house on my mantel, and I remember, and I realize once again how very blessed I am. My cup runneth over.