Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Christmas Miracle

Technically, I'm not doing anything special to prepare for Christmas this year. I'm not doing extensive shopping, putting up a tree, or hosting any parties. I've already ordered all my gifts via World Vision's charitable gift catalogue. I'll be working between Christmas and New Year's Eve so that my assistant, who has young children, can take the time off.

But this Christmas may well be the most important Christmas of my life. More important than the first time I decorated a Christmas tree, when I was 16. More important than my first Christmas away from home. Even more important than my first Christmas as a Christian.

My birth parents split up before my second birthday. The circumstances were complicated; suffice it to say that my mother never wanted my father around after that. I come from a long line of Champion Grudge-Holders, and my mum is a strong contender for Grand Queen of Grudgeholding. She let me know in no uncertain terms that my father was a Bad Man who lived in a Bad Neighbourhood and he was Not To Be Trusted.

Due to all these bad feelings, I didn't know my father very well until I grew up and took matters into my own hands. I decided I wanted us to have a proper father-daughter relationship. It wasn't too late to work that out. Still, my mother stuck to her guns and refused to forgive him.

Fastforward to two years ago, when my step-father left my mother after 27 years together. My family, already fractured into pieces from the long-ago-past, developed another irreperable split. Sometimes it felt like no two people I cared about could stand the sight of each other. How can I build a loving circle of family around me when they all hate each other?

My mother initially descended into depths of grief and bitterness. It was understandable, given her circumstances. I assumed that she would add another notch to her grudge belt, and power up her hating to last a lifetime. But I underestimated her. She's older, wiser, and, after the initial shock wore off, ready to take a look at her life and make some changes.

When my father's father passed away this spring, my mother decided to attend the memorial service. After all, my zaidy had been her father-in-law for nine years. After the service, she had time for a short chat with my father. It was a pleasant, if brief reunion. I can't remember the exact sequence, but someone followed up with an e-mail, someone else responded in kind, and some real communications were exchanged.

I knew that they were in touch, and I thought it was great. My mother was finally ready to put down the burden of all that angst, let go of the past, and move on. I expected that the most that would come of it would be a gentle, remote reconciliation. Should they ever, God forbid, meet again by my hospital bedside due to some horrible accident, they would be able to support each other instead of avoiding each other. That would be nice.

However, they completely surprised me. Without letting me in on their plans, they arranged to meet for walk in a park. I found out from my father after the fact that they spent two very enjoyable hours together, catching up on 35 years of history. Not to worry - my step-mum (who is cancer-free and recovering from her surgery very nicely, thank God) is aware of the situation and gives her whole-hearted approval.

I don't know if there's any way to explain how it felt when my father told me about him and my mum patching things up. Imagine that someone you know shows up to meet you, not in their regular car, but riding on a winged unicorn. If you can imagine how you might feel: shocked, amazed, confused, and delighted all at once - that's how I felt. Then he took it one step further and let me know that my mum and I were invited to celebrate Christmas Day with him, my step-mum, and my sister.

It would have been a dream come true, if in my wildest dreams I had ever hoped that my parents would get along again. But even as a child I don't recall that possibility ever crossing my mind. So this is better than a dream-come-true. It exceeds my most optimistic hopes and expectations.

I also have to tell you how wonderful it felt to know, for the first time in my conscious, remembered life, that my parents - my real, birth parents - as a team, (a TEAM!) were doing something together, for me, their daughter, because of how much they love me.

I am 37 years old, and I assure you, it's never too late. It doesn't matter that I have a few silver hairs and crows-feet of my own. I had this weird thought: "Finally, I'm like just any normal kid! With normal parents!" Not that parents staying together is necessarily normal anymore, but keep in mind that my inner child is still working from the standards of the 1970's. According to that standard, having two, loving parents is normal, and normal is all I ever wanted to be.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

Congrats on being normal!! Glad they were able to put the past behind them and plan a great Christmas.

Anonymous said...

HEY! Normal, huh? Nice neigborhood, that Normal. At least, that's what I hear.

I hope this is the Merriest doggone Christmas you've ever had. I'm very happy for you. :)

wigsf said...


DarcsFalcon said...

Yay! Google is all better now and I can post!

I'm so glad you're happy, and that this is all working out so well for you. :) Best wishes for the holiday of your childhood to come true. :)

But, probably no good wishing for that little brother or sister. ;)

Jameil said...

i am so incredibly happy for you! my parents have been divorced 10 years this year after 13 years of marriage. i think they get along much better apart than they did together. when we're home, he's welcome at the house just as she's welcome at his home. it's really nice not to know the animosity of divorce.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

What a really wonderful twist to this decades-long story in the making. And while I certainly think Christmas as a whole family is surely for you, I think their reconciliation? Well, I like to think it's also for them. Imagine the weight lifted off their shoulders to be able to properly close a troubled past and turn it into a civil future? Really amazing!

Ily said...

You brought tears to my eyes, Chica. I'm so happy for you, for your mom, your dad...and I wish you all a most enjoyable Christmas together! (How cool is this story??) :)

Forgiveness, togetherness,'s what it's all about!!

powdergirl said...

I am absolutely delighted for you, Sparkly.

Thats the most up-lifting thing I've read in quite a while, thanks for posting, you really got your joy across the page and its quite contagious!

San said...

That is a miracle, Spark. I love your "winged unicorn" metaphor. That says it.

And your quiet observance of this season seems very reassuring.

NicoleB said...

This is so great & sweet!
I am glad things are starting to work out and turn rosy again :)

Jenski said...

That's wonderful! I hope you continue to have a peaceful Christmas season (even if it's cold and snowy).