December is a difficult month for the Frog Family. We lost our oldest son as an infant on Christmas morning almost 10 years ago to SIDS. Four years later my father-in-law passed away also on Christmas. Since ER passed away (how can it be 10 years already?) Papa Frog and I have added 5 more froglets to our family. But no matter how joyful I know this time of year should be, it is a hard time for me. I cry alot. Some days I just don’t do much. While others around me are in the spirit, I struggle. It is made even more difficult because now, not only do I have ER’s birthday and Christmas in this month, The Boy also celebrates his birthday. So I have to put on my festive pants and cope the best I can. And I can tell you this- it is not easy. Sometimes I feel like during the holidays my family gets the little leftover bits and pieces of me. This is the time where I have to deal with myself- listening to myself and pampering myself a little is my reward for getting through the days. It also just so happens that this is one of Papa Frog’s busy times of the year.
I always start out the month with grand ideas and lofty aspirations. But by the time Christmas hits I am dragging myself through. So yes, on top of everything else I feel guilty. I don’t want my kids to grow up with their memories of the holiday season overshadowed by a brother they never knew and their mother’s inability to suck it up and function properly. Sometimes this is how it feels to me. Although I know that if it were that easy to just function, I would do it. I don’t want them to feel like they got the odds and ends of joy and memories and traditions.
But today, today I had an epiphany. I wanted to make something filling for lunch and I haven’t made bagels in a while. So I went on the search for odds and ends for the bagels. A heel of cheese, one lonely jalapeno, a few leftover sundried tomatoes, a wedge of mozzarella. All those little odds and ends left over at the end of the month. I split the dough into manageable chunks and added in the fillings and toppings. A little bit here and a little bit there. Some stretching and kneading and reluctance and before it was over I had 2 dozen gourmet bagels. Some were plain, some were onion bagels, some were jalapeno cheddar and some were sundried tomato, basil and mozzarella. All of them were so much more delicious than their individual components. And I got to thinking- you know what, I am kind of like these bagels.
I have a little here and a little there to give, but if I give it purposefully and wholly to my children then the gaps won’t be as large. Take December, add in a little here and a little there- some hugs, some cookies, crafting together, cuddles and holiday movies, trimming trees, giving gifts and stretch it and work it in, even if it hurts and even if there is resistence, and at the end, maybe just maybe we end up with the same thing everyone else has- happy holidays.