United States of Motherhood: A Good Cry on Christmas Past

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Good Cry on Christmas Past

Christmas morning had me bawling this year.


All the presents were opened, but one.

There it was.

A bright yellow package stapled and scrawled with careful young fingers.

There was expectation in the air as PB and Li'l Man handed over the bright, kid created package to me.

"For meeee?" I smiled. It was suspiciously labeled from "Santa or "someone else"


That's quite a milestone when they start making gifts from Santa since they all still claim to believe. Perhaps I have told them, "Those who don't believe, don't receive," more than a couple of times. Heh!

Ah, one of their special homemade gifts, I thought. The one they had been hush, hush with all week.

You could feel their anticipation and giggles.

Obviously, I thought to myself, they think they've outdone themselves with a cute drawing or funny cartoon.

I carefully opened the package.

Puzzled I pulled out some crumpled hairy tissues. Uhhh...They looked used.


I started to think I'd been played. Those boogers. No wonder the giggles.

"Um, tissues?"

"No, mommy. Those are Grendel tears." Their innocent voices chorused.

I looked down at the white softness and saw evidence of melted mascara.

My heart started to crumple, "What?"

"Grendel tears." They repeated again.

Just the mention of my first Christmas without my pup in 14 years started the wetness to seep. I had been emotional the week before when I put up Seb's stocking, but left Grendel's in the crate.

We got Grendel the week before Christmas and often she had been likened to Santa's Little Helper.

It was even a tradition to take pictures of her and Seb in silly hats by the tree.

It just didn't seem like Christmas without my Grendel.

So there I sat a bit bemused looking at the tissues.

Then they explained.

They had collected some of my teary tissues from my heart-breaking morning of having to put my baby down in our kitchen less than three months ago.

It was the right decision. The cancer had ravaged her body. She was weak. She was listless. It was a struggle. It was my final gift to her.

And now I looked at my gift.

They had also collected the hair from Grendel's couch...yes, it still lingers. Grendel was a constant shedder.

Even so, each time I have vacuumed since, the hair in my clear Dyson container has changed each week. The container holds more fluffy, lighter pigmented Seb hair and less, and less of Grendel's sleek reddish, otter-like fur each week.

Sigh. I never thought I would miss the shedding, but I do.

Back to the package, I took one look at CG's gentle, concerned demeanor and I lost it.

I keened out my yearning for Grendel like I hadn't in months.

I sobbed at the poignancy of the tissues.

I bawled at the incredible thoughtfulness and compassionate nature of my kiddos.

I sobbed while my kids bewildered faces looked on. They thought I would be pleased.

They did not know yet that I was.

I was happy.

Those were happy tears.

And that is why I had a good cry on Christmas Day.

I filled those tissues again with Grendel tears.


Carrie said...

Wow- what amazing kids you have. This post made me cry!

Scout's Honor said...

Thanks Carrie. It took me so long to write this post because I'd start bawling all over again every time I started. My, I love my kiddos. They slay me at time though with their kindness.


JamaGenie said...

Ahhhhhhhhh...sniff, sniff. "Amazing kids"...YES!.!! This post made me cry too

Dumblond said...

Those are some fantastic kids you have.

Soliloquy said...


I am not a dog person. I made my (then boyfriend) SWEAR up and down we would never have dogs EVER before I agreed to accept his marriage proposal.

We now have two. They're 6 1/2 and this post made me get all welly. I'll never be ready for the last day.


And your kids? You're doing somethin' right, girl.


outdoors2 said...

Sheezus Scout did ya have too? sniff

What a wonderful post, Thanks for sharing.

Beau said...

Yeah, those kids are alright. I miss her too.

And I did not well up with tears on public transportation whole reading this.

Tendrils said...

Awwwwww... your kids are so sweet! I was in tears reading this! Beautiful post!

feefifoto said...

What a sweet story!

When our first dog died my son was in kindergarten and my daughter was three. As I wept while trying to read Dog Heaven to them, my daughter ran to the kitchen to get a tissue so she could dry my tears, as I'd dried her many times before. I still mist up when I think about it.

Javajini said...

Oh Scout! You got me started too. What are my co-workers going to think? I don't care. Heart felt emotion is nothing to be ashamed of. Ever. Thanks for the sweet story. Take care. - Kellie/Javajini (Mizlollipop's husband)

Lauren said...

seriously - incredible kids. Creative and sensitive.

Laura said...

Wow! You have raised the most amazing, empathetic, sensitive children. Awesome!!

Scout's Honor said...

JamaGenie: I should have posted a warning to have some kleenex handy. sniffle.

Dumblond: Thanks, I will keep 'em.

Soliloquy: Yes, you are never, ever, ever ready for the last day. I truly was dreading it for years. I knew we were on limited time because of her age. As for doing something right? could have killed them yesterday. Luckily, CG is back from his business trip. He is the badass parent. Taking names and following through. I tend to be the softie.


Scout's Honor said...

Outdoors2: Sorry about that. Sheezus is so right! :)

Beau: Wow! Public transportation? Your going to give a girl a swelled head that people read her on public transportation. Oh, wait. That's right. Your CG, my husband. You have to! :)

Tendrils: Thank you, my friend. I am so glad you liked it. :)

Feefifoto: Oh, girl, now you are making me misty again. Yes, I have a couple times in memories where they wiped my tears and those tissues made them well up all the more. Poignant.


Scout's Honor said...

Javajini: Hey, you! Thanks for visiting. Get your wife back on Stumble. Miss her! :D

Weeping at the workplace? Wow! I can tell a fellow pet lover when I meet him.

Yes, so true. Heart felt emotion is nothing to be ashamed of, but I need to start re-hydrating after this post because I've been leaking so much.

Lauren: Yes, they get really creative. They were also thinking of *letting me* play Wii with them (which I rarely let them play). Smart cookies. How could I turn down quality time with them, eh? PB told me and decided that that *might* be a little more centered on *them*, and just a tad less focus on me. The boys still wanted to give it to me. Of course they did, but she vetoed it. Heh.

Laura: Yes, I love them to death. They are very empathetic and creative. It's times like these that I try remember when they are acting up and full of attitude so I don't strangle them. :) Heh!


LizB said...

I Stumbled your blog, but this is the sweetest story I have ever read about a present from a child. What amazing kids you have!

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