Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Starbucks Cup is Red

My Starbucks cup is red and festive this morning.  I think that officially means the holidays are upon us. 

That makes me nauseous.

I have had a slight reprieve in the six weeks with no major milestones between Tucker's birthday and Halloween.  We made the rounds for Trick or Treat, gathering obscene amounts of candy (kudos to the neighbors for very few choking hazards tossed into the pumpkin pails), and I kept my head in the game. 

I don't love Halloween.  But Robb did. 

I took the boys out in the wagon, traipsed up and down sidewalks and driveways, teaching them the etiquette and the code of the porch light. 

They told people, "We are Batman and Robin.  But we don't punch each other, because we are partners."  Excellent to hear that parenting objective voiced aloud.

I guided them when Tucker said, "Yes, but don't you have any peanut butter cups?"  (Tuck, don't be choosy.) And when Tyler said, "Want to feel my wet forehead?  I'm so sweaty."  (Tyler, don't be gross.)

On our most successful stops, they said, "Thank you, and Happy Halloween to you too!"  Well done, superheroes.

We counted and sorted their candy loot, and I remembered when Robb scooped Tyler onto his lap, commended him on the excellent stash, and told him this is the one night when he can eat as much candy as he wanted.  Eat up, kiddo.  The rules are back to normal tomorrow.

At the end of the night, they shed their costumes and fell into bed, the crash after a ridiculously stellar sugar high.  And now we have entered November.

This is the day when Robb would load his iPod with Christmas Carols.  (I was married to Father Christmas, and he could stretch one holiday into eight weeks, easily.)  This is the day when he would begin scouting his exterior decorative plans, strolling the aisles at Costco for something big and obnoxious to add to the lawn.  This is the day when I would begin negotiating the value of experiencing one holiday at a time, and he would call me a Scrooge.  And he would hang the lights whenever he chose, but I wouldn't concede the actually lighting ceremony until the evening of Thanksgiving Day when Christmas would officially be the next calendar holiday.  The beginning of November faithfully marked the start of a playful banter, a pile of lists, a budget for gifts, and a list of traditions.

I'm in a long stretch now.  The holidays are upon me.

I feel like I'm at the starting line of a marathon I didn't sign up for.  I feel like someone dropped me off the chairlift at the top of a Double Black Diamond slope, and the only way down is bumpy, cold, scary, and out of my league.

There's no way out except through it.  I do not know how I will do this.


Amy said...

When I saw the title of your blog post in my blog list, my heart dropped. I knew what it meant. I am praying for you, and I felt the fear well up in my heart for you.

It's ironic, or not really-it's God- that I've carried around in my pocket this week (and been able to share it over and over again) an index card with Hebrews 13:20-21 on it: "Now the God of peace {oh, I'm praying that His peace will flood you this season}, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep {John 10} through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, *equip* you in every good thing to do His will, *working in us* that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen."

I'm praying that HE will work in you and enable you to make it through this season as a testimony to His goodness and His faithfulness, so that His glory will be known to many. And so that many will come to know Him through you. Please know you have my prayers. He brings you to my heart so often, and I'm thankful so that I may lift you up.

Noel said...

My first year, when the barista handed me the red cup for the first time I turned and walked out, sobbing. I couldn't even grab my cup. I'm sure they wondered what the hell was the matter with me. You are absolutely right about this season for you. You didn't sign up. It's going to be hard. But, you can absolutely do it. You don't have to celebrate at all. Your only job this holiday season is to survive.

Jenny Rebecca said...

Praying for you.

Jason said...

I too, knew as soon as I saw the title of your blog...what it meant to you.
For me, Starbucks was not the first reminder this year. Last week, the town I live in started to hang Christmas lights from the trees downtown. As I was driving home one night, I got that "god this holiday is here again" feeling in my stomach. However, I did have my first red Starbucks cup yesterday, and I actually thought of you while walking out...knowing what you are about to experience this first year (and of course, because of your affection for Starbucks). The first years you seem to recall every detail of the events that are so permanently etched into your memory. As the days and anniversaries near, it is like walking continually into a theater with the scariest movies imaginable playing. You know the start times and are forced to sit there and experience each and every one. It is a shame that such a beautiful holiday, when everyone around you is so happy and festively celebrating, makes you want crawl into a hole and not come out until January...when all of the constant reminders have safely been put away until next year. I promise it gets better with time, and as Noel said...just survive. That is all anyone could ask of you.

Claire said...

Well-spoken, Noel.

Wender said...

My heart breaks for you. I will be lifting you up to Him every. single. day. ... and some days it may be much more. Just know that I'm praying for you, and believing that He will help you through this season.

Kay Day said...

You will do it one day at a time, holding tight to your Father's hand. Just as you've done every single one of these other impossible days.
It's the only way.
And you will be carried by many prayers.

Chaim B said...


Sending you a virtual hug as well!

Gwen said...

I will be praying for your family during this holiday season. May God's perfect peace reign over you every moment of the day. May your thoughts continually stay fixed on our wonderful savior. You are loved and thought of here in Georgia.

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

I have been thinking about you so much, waiting for this post. You know what? You absolutely CAN do this, and I know you will because you have triumphed this year. Not because you had to, but because you allowed God to do His work in you. Yes, these next weeks are going to be excruciatingly hard on you, but you will come through this next battle stronger and more amazed at God's provision for you and your family.

You can do it. We're all behind you, praying you through it.