This can feel like the ultimate Noah’s Arc time – two by two couples march through the season, decking the halls and checking lists twice, conspiring over boozy eggnog for the perfect gifts for their kids.
It’s a hard time of the year to be alone.
Your children will look back on this season, they will see the things, the small things, you are able to do. They will feel loved, even if you feel you are struggling to do it all.
They won’t see you cry, you will do that after they are in bed, or opening presents at another house. They won’t see you stumble, they won’t feel your sadness, or fear, or share your sense of being alone.
You are not alone. You are loved, they are loved. Hold each other, share stories of Christmas past, real or imagined. Read a book, light a candle, conjure the magic of the season…impossible miracles and the return of the light.
Believe that you are amazing, capable of great love. Loveable. Take time, between the tears perhaps, to find one thing you are grateful for. Health, a hot bath on a cold day, laughter, that crazy thing your child said the other day. Find one thing. Savour it. Breathe in the feeling. Breathe out and let go.
Take a moment to comfort your bruised heart, to be truly tender with yourself, despite the exhaustion or short temper, the unending stress to make it perfect. See all you do to keep your tiny ship afloat.
And know that this is enough.
Give yourself something small, something just for you from you. Time, a cup of tea. A library book. A love letter from your old lady self to the woman you are right now. What would she say to you? Miracles indeed.
Your children will be richer because of you. They will take, from your example, the certain knowledge that moments matter. A hot cup of cocoa and a story heals. A big hug before bed assures. A kiss, an “I love you” a day (or ten times a day) nourishes the soul. Heals the heart.
This is the season of miracles, enough oil, greatness born in the humblest of places, the certainty that light will conquer dark.
So, brave woman, stronger than you ever knew you could be, do what you can. Bake if you can. Wrap a gift if you can. Make a card. Ask for help if you need it. Ask for help if you don’t.
Love yourself, love your children, love the story of your life that has brought them to you.
For in the end that’s what they will remember, the deep certainty they are loved.
You are a gift. Shine brightly, laugh when you can. Most importantly, just love. Whatever that means for you. You do enough, you are enough. You are loved.