Advent is the road to Christmas. It is my favourite time of year. I love Christmas, but I crave Advent.
I am a woman with many opinions and a well exercised mouth. Or at least I can be. Many times my thoughts come out with a force stronger than I would have wished had I taken a day to think about it. (That counting to ten thing doesn’t work for me and mine. Ten seconds is only enough time for us to rev the engines a little hotter.) The best defense is a good offense came built into my operating instructions. My bold words mask fear and protect against rejection.
Then Advent comes and it all finally looks like what it really is. Utter nonsense. Babies don’t get bravado, they just want you to be with them. Provided I don’t get caught up in lists, the relief I feel walking the path to Christmas is palpable. Very little is required of me beyond what would naturally pour out of me were someone to hand me a baby I long for. My broken tear ducts work for this little one. I can cry just thinking about welcoming the baby in the manger. I want to be ready.
Babies know things without words, and they drink, and poop, and sleep it off. I don’t want my sarcastic, caustic self for a baby. I want soft and warm. A voice that is used to saying kind things. Arms that are accustomed to embracing generously. If I allow it, Advent gives me a break from me.
I don’t float around gently dispensing peace and love in my kitchen or on the street. I try to be a little kinder and I then I fall flat on my face because it is barely December and I already cannot handle the fifty two memos from school about canned food, shoeboxes for seniors, parties, concerts, celebrations and never ending details. I snap at the innocents, feel like a failure and snap some more. I want to go on strike, say choice words, and kick over a few snowmen. Then I remember that it is just about the baby and I go quiet again.
I scrounge around in my heart. Pace back and forth. Sigh. There’s no use telling a baby that I couldn’t think of what to give him, just come back next year. He doesn’t want my stuff, he just wants me and you. Good news that is terrifying.
It’s like the bathroom needs cleaning and the laundry isn’t done, but company I really care about is at the door. I pull shut the laundry room door, and yell for them to let themselves in. I grab a clean hand towel, some disinfectant and a rag for as good as I can get it in 90 seconds.
I’m coming, I yell from the bathroom.
Me too, says the baby.