Can we first acknowledge the acid-washed denim love affair going on here, and I'm obsessed with that hanging fern in the background. I don't recall that plant. Also what's with the rest of my family not smiling? Honestly.
The paper shreds of life.
I get where hoarding comes from. For me, it’s the shred of sentimental value in an item that makes it so hard for me to part with it. They are treasures. And there are stories behind them. Good thing I have a basement. And a very patient husband.
I own a frame shop, I see tremendous value in framing sentimental items, not because they are worth a lot of money, but because they are worth a lot of smiles.
And I’ve gotten to frame some of my favorite things.
But the paper shreds don’t belong in a frame. They belong where they were meant to be, padding the Christmas decorations. Doing their job. Every year when the tubs are opened they are a welcomed surprise, a nod from my mom, because they are too, what’s the word...insignificant, basic, small, I hate all these descriptions...to think about the rest of the year. Then they show up. And it all depends, sometimes I cry. Not this year, this year I shared with Riese and Peyton why I pick up every shred that falls to the ground and dutifully put them back in the tub... “my mom ACTUALLY touched these. My mom who was very much a clean freak thought paper shreds that get every where were a good idea." The boys laugh and I smile thinking of her. And for a moment I’m sort of shocked she’s gone. It’s been 17 years. That’s the thing with grief.
"They live forever in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up. And you come through. It's like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly - that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with a limp." Anne Lamott
And my boys now join in the game of saving the paper shreds. A new Christmas Tradition. And there are two camps in my mind: 1. Wishing with all my heart that my boys had traditions like making cookies with Grandma. Pissed. And sad. 2. Grateful that she still carries on in my life, and I can share her with my boys.
It's absolutely both. Dancing with a limp.
We work so hard to hide that limp, but the broken parts, the cracks, allow the light to shine through. It's part of who we are, and lets people, and ourselves, know we are not alone. It might not be wrapped in a big red bow but it's authentic.
I definitely could have kept quiet about the shreds, I thought about it. There's a risk in telling my children, it seems safer, but also lonelier, to just keep picking them up in solitude, hoping no one discards them, at the risk my boys won't have ears to hear my precious, and what often feels very crazy, story. Paper shreds. My youngest tends to divert and distract when he's feeling emotions he's unsure of, often cracking a joke at the part when my heart is wide open.
Regardless, it's a risk worth taking.
Deep breathe. Maybe two, or three. And do it.
My prayer this season is twofold, that we can all dare to be vulnerable, and trust that the light somehow ALWAYS brings healing. And that we can be gentle with others, increasing our kindness, especially in those moments when it's the hardest to muster, because we may never know the limp that another person may be compensating for.
I am here, a bit exposed. If you need support and encouragement, email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don't hesitate.
Thank you for reading,