Today is the last day before Winter Break. My students are surprised that I am making them learn on the day before a vacation, but I want them to realize there is a purpose for being here and we will take advantage of every moment we are given to become better people.
As they are working on their comic strips about a story we read, Gluskabe and the Snowbird, it causes me think about how every culture has stories and reasons for why the world is the way it is. In this particular Gluskabe story, they explain why it only snows a few months a year, why the sun doesn't shine on the entire world at the same time and, funnily, why a skunk is black and white and has a bad smell. There are stories of Anansi the spider which explain many of things like this, too.
None of these stories, however, can explain away why tragedy has to occur in our lives...why a 39 year old man has to bury his 58 year old mother...why a grandson will never get to know his grandmother.
My mother-in-law passed away yesterday. When I received the news, I was saddened, not so much for her loss of life. She made life choices that led to her early grave. I was more grieved by the fact that her life choices have denied my children knowing more about their heritage, where they come from. I am thrown into a quandary as to when it is okay to tell my children the circumstances surrounding their grandmother's death...certainly not at age four, but what about my 12 year old? When is she old enough to know? Little pitchers have big ears. What will she overhear as we travel to Oklahoma? These are the things I will spend my Christmas break worrying about.
Even while celebrating the birth of Christ and the meeting of my brother's SigO for the first time, my days will be overshadowed with sadness for my husband who will still be grieving over the relationship he never had with this woman by genetics we shall call "Mother."
I could write a book about the ways this person has failed my husband and his siblings, but in not wanting to slam the dead (as I am already speaking ill of her,) I will stop here and begin thinking of the packing I will be doing, the hugs from my students I will be receiving, the lights that will twinkle, the Christmas tunes that will fill the air and memory of this wonderful Christmas pageant that my son's school presented yesterday evening solely made up of 4 to 6 year olds.
It was amazing....I just wish I had a video camera.