It's strange but I don't know how I'm supposed to feel this holiday season.
I feel guilty if I unabashedly enjoy myself because to do so is to necessarily ignore the fact that my mom isn't here with us. However, if I dwell on how much I miss my mom, my spirit will descend into the familiar abyss of sadness and, yes, depression, and those closest to me will suffer the ill effects of my emotional decline. My mom wouldn't want that. This I know.
What would she want?
She would want me to smile and laugh. To enjoy spending time with Jude, J.P. and Joe. To watch football all weekend long. To enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with Jude's extended family at Anne and David Walker's house in Franklin (something my mom did with Jude and me on more than one occasion).
She would want me to watch football all weekend long. To tease my boys, and tease her, about the Tennessee - Vanderbilt football game tomorrow. To have family over tomorrow night to laugh, reminisce and spend time together.
She would want my heart to fill with pride as I watch J.P. and Joe shoot basketball together, with me, at Christ the King or Sevier Park. To have 4-way Connect Four tournaments with Jude, J.P. and Joe. She would want me to lose to one of the boys, of course.
She would want me to enjoy the beginning of the college basketball season. To enjoy taking the boys to the Battle of the Boulevard (Belmont vs. Lipscomb) on Tuesday. To enjoy following the Titans as they make a late season run for the playoffs. To worry about the Predators and early season swoon.
She would want me to enjoy the fact that I'm healthy and running like I did 25 + years ago. To enjoy the fact that, at age 53, I've had a bit of a running renaissance. Not racing but effortlessly running 4, 5 or 6 miles at the same training pace I ran in my late 20's. To enjoy running 10 miles in Shelby Bottoms last weekend. To simply enjoy doing something I love. Running.
I think - no, I know - she would want me to slow down just a little bit this holiday season. To worry a little bit less about work and my immediate and extended family, and my friends. To be still, to be quiet and to be thankful, truly and deeply thankful, for the life I have right now. To be present in this moment and appreciate it for it's singularity, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
She would want all of those things for me, and many, many more.
I miss you mom. The holidays aren't going to be easy for me, I know. But I'm going to try to honor your memory over the holidays by living the way you would want me to live.
I have so much. Today, Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for all of it. My life, the sad parts, the hard parts, the happy parts. All of it.