Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

“A Reason For The Season”

December 16, 2012

Within the hope of Christmas, the Winter Solstice and other cultural holidays, comes the unbelievable tragedy of Newtown, Conn. Our hearts are broken.

Lady Nyo

A REASON FOR THE SEASON

I saw the Cooper’s hawk this morning. She landed on the chimney pot, probably looking for my miniature hen, Grayson. Four years ago she was a starved fledging who mantled over while I fed her cold chicken. She’s back this holiday, my spirits lifting. A good Christmas present.

In the middle of the commercialization of the season, Nature closes the gap. I have noticed squirrels with pecans in mouths leaping the trees, hawks hunting low over now-bare woods, unknown song birds sitting on fences, heard the migration of Sandhill cranes as they honk in formation. You hear their cacophony well before they appear.

There is brightness to the holly, washed by our early winter rains and the orange of the nandina berries has turned crimson. Smell of wood smoke in the air and the crispness of morning means some of nature is going to sleep. We humans should reclaim our past and join the slumber party of our brother bears.

Jingle Bells will fade and our tension with it. Looking towards deep winter when the Earth is again silent will restore our balance and calm nerves with a blanket of peace.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2009. 2012

A Tale of Two Brothers and Stumbling Motherhood….

December 24, 2011

Some readers have asked me to keep them updated about my   ‘two ‘boys’ and this Christmas visit.  I woke up with some thoughts this Christmas Eve.  They  have been troubling me all morning.

Last night we heard from Christopher #2, the younger one, off in the Navy for the past two years.  He was trying to rent a car to bring both of them down from Virginia.  Why he was doing so when his brother had a perfectly good car for this road trip was beyond me.  Apparently he never considered asking his brother. If this sounds strange to readers, well, they just met this summer, and there probably is shyness,  other things going on between them.  Learning the new ‘brother’ on both sides probably takes time and consideration.  Our son (Christopher #2, being younger) was having trouble with his credit card, and I didn’t want to hear about it.  I was exhibiting my usual impatience with our squirrelly son, and I could feel these old sensations of something creep into my brain.  Our son joined the Navy right after some years of college and immediately bought a Jaguar.  He is in love with Jaguars, being given my old one at 18 for a birthday present.  That was a mistake on our part, the parents, because the money drain of a car like that is unending.  The new Jag, a silvery blue one, beautiful and running well, was a sight to behold until the floods in Virginia this summer.  The entire electrical system, designed by the Prince of Darkness , flooded  and our son was left with an expensive and continuing repair. Again, the nasty money drain on a young man who doesn’t have a clue about financial things in general. 

Talking with him last night, I was struck by his determined optimism about coming down to Atlanta for Christmas. He was coming and bringing his ‘new’ brother — Come Hell Or High Water.  It just never occured to him to ask his brother to use his own car.  Our son was determined to ‘be responsible’ in these things…regardless the obstacles facing him.  Enterprise car rental would not use my husband’s card because he had to offer it in person according to our son.  Five minute later, in the next phone call from him, everything was fine, Christopher #1 agreed to use his car, and Christopher #2 would do an oil change.

This morning, in the midst of preparations for Christmas and their arrival, I am feeling shame.  I recognize some of the same behaviors of another person in my family: impatience, distain, annoyance at the troubles of others.  The cycle truly goes on when you aren’t aware or conscious of these things.  And they don’t make for being a good mother or a good person.

I became a mother to our son in my early 40’s.  I had no experience with children, and I think at the time I had no real awareness of what it really entailed.  Though having a child from a previous marriage, my husband didn’t either.  We were locked in a selfish, self-centered marriage, not really emotionally mature enough to recognize this huge thing we were facing.  Having Christopher in our lives broke a lot of that crap down, but I don’t think we really understood the changes  necessary.  That took too many years and only in the last 6 have I understood where so many of the deficiencies of my own parenting came from.

The good news is  I did not have to repeat these unending patterns. Narcissism is, in part, an inability to place the suffering or discomfort of another person first in your actions: it is usually a total lack of empathy for the situation, the condition of someone else.  Of course, narcissism is much more than this, but the lack of empathy is key in defining pathological narcissism.  It’s a horrible ball of wax.  Narcissism contains so many disruptive and destructive elements, but it is truly poisonous to children.  They have no real defenses against it, and when it comes from a parent, it is debilitating for life until therapy shines some light and understanding.  It disrupts any real family life.  It makes a mockery of unconditional love, something we are called to especially in this season.

How truly wonderful the optimism and fortitude of my son.  How wonderful they both are working in tandem to come down here, and want to spend Christmas with us.  It is also amazing to me that Christopher #1, (28 apparently, not 29 as I thought) wants to come and spend this precious time with people he really doesn’t know.  He’s coming here on a wing and a prayer, not knowing  knowing for sure his place in this family.

He, a new Mormon, (a mysterious religion to us)…is stepping out in faith. 

I am humbled.  I am humbled by the constancy of my son who will ‘walk through flames’ to be home for Christmas.  I am humbled by Christopher #1 who is determined to be here, to throw himself into a new family who  wants him as family.  But most of all, I am humbled that two young men can teach me the real value and meaning of love and Christmas: they desperately care and are not afraid of showing it.  Their youthful optimism cuts through doubt and darkness.

They want to be with us as family, their family, and they bring love with them.  The plan is that they will be here around 1opm- midnight this Christmas Eve, and they will be amongst the most important  blessings this season brings.

Lady Nyo, wishing you all a wonderful Holiday. 

Chris #2, if you read this, you have to set up the Creche.  The camels are waiting.

“A Reason for the Season”

December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve, early. The magnolia leaves and glossy red nandina berries  are spread….finally… over these old mantels.

Southern traditions are different.  I come from  the North and realize  now how decorating differs in both regions.  People used what they had.  Magnolia leaves are broad and glossy, and look lovely spread over overmantels, tucked behind paintings, and on mantels with these nandina berries I have only seen in the South.  The glossy leaves and berries come into their best in this early winter.  Nandina bushes are rather frothy, with orange, grape-clustered berries that turn to a bright red at Xmas.  Perfect.  Some pine cones, which down here tend to be all sizes…from tiny, perfect ‘buds’ to huge cones you can put an eye out with.

There are 4 fireplaces in this old house and all of them drafty.  This spring I am going to paint ‘firescreens’ to place over the andirons and close off the drafts.  But by the time they are finished it will probably be summer.

I am making mimosas this afternoon, and oyster stew for the evening meal, and then to bed.  It’s just Husband and House this year, as our son has left for Navy deployment Dec. 8th.  It is a tenuous and bittersweet Christmas this year; the first in 22 years sans enfant.

(We just received our first letter from our son:  a whole page and a half of closely written letter on Navy stationary saying it’s cold up there and the food is good (but not as good as mom’s) he has a cold or flu that showed up after all his shots, and  bemoans his Navy haircut.  Sounds like he’s doing fine.  Hope he has Kleenex.)

But the cats have his old room and they are very happy.  The dogs keep looking for their buddy….he has disappeared into the ether. He has a favorite cat, Hana, who is a nutcase.  She is a beautiful tortoise shell calico and  gets beaten up by another two females.  So she has ‘special needs’ emotionally as our son proclaims.  She must have because she sleeps in his sleeping bag…at the bottom.

It is gloomy outside, a cold rain  probably  perferable to the snow up North.  But I don’t know.  Each year I pray for some snow and this year we got 6″ March 1st.  Very unusual.

So hope springs eternal for some of that ‘stuff’.  This morning I noticed cardinals and bluejays squabbling outside in trees.  They divebombed each other but I think this will settle down because Winter looks like a long one this year.

This short essay was written last year.  It still works for me this year.

Merry Christmas.

Lady Nyo

A REASON FOR THE SEASON

I saw the Cooper’s hawk this morning. She landed on the chimney pot, probably looking for my miniature hen, Grayson. Four years ago she was a starving fledgling who mantled over while I fed her cold chicken. She’s back this holiday, my spirits lifting. A good Christmas present.

In the middle of the commercialization of Christmas, Nature closes the gap. I have noticed squirrels with pecans in mouths leaping the trees, hawks hunting low over now-bare woods, unknown song birds sitting on fences, heard the migration of Sandhill cranes as they honk in formation. You hear their cacophony well before they appear. Their chiding cries float down to upturned faces.

There is brightness to the holly, washed by our early winter rains and the orange of the nandina berries has turned crimson. Smell of woodsmoke in the air and the crispness of mornings means the earth is going to sleep. We humans should reclaim our past and our fecal plugs and join the slumber party of our brother bears.

Jingle Bells will fade and our tension with it. Looking towards deep winter when the Earth is again silent will restore our balance and calm nerves with a blanket of peace.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008


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