The main part of November was taken up with the St. Thomas More fall production of Father knows best. I was costume and hair (!) designer/stylist and Jac was photographer so we all spent a good deal of time out at the old St. Martin’s auditorium. It was so good to be back among youth, up to our eyeballs with their humor and language and culture. The cast was a harmonious group and oh, so talented. It was a joy to be a part of their hard work and as a bonus, Sabine was assistant director with a small part so we had time with her, too.
We’ve known since April that we wouldn’t be making the trek to California for Christmas. For the first few weeks I was down in the mouth about it. Then, oddly enough, came a great sense of peace and relief. There was a PLAN that wouldn’t change regardless of weather or money or work. The peace has been sustaining through the summer and fall. Sure, There were moments when there was an ache in my heart hearing the kids plan for what they would do when they got to California, but those were short lived. I just knew, KNEW, that this was the Father’s plan, and that he knew what we needed.
Then last week, the reality of staying home hit us full in the chest. Jac moped, “This is going to suck.” he announced and I couldn’t help but agree. My hands are cracking and bleeding and my hair is fizzing. This year there will be no blessed fog to rehydrate in. There will be no trips to Tuolumne where you can smell the earth and partake in Nana’s fried chicken and Papa’s bear hugs. No oranges straight from the tree, Mexican sweet bread or trips to the Taco truck. We will miss out on Hot Dog on a Stick and Molcajete and wine tasting in Lodi. There will be no bowling with the Wyeth’s or Dim Sum with the Conway’s. No Troy and Gary for the boy’s mops or Augie for our sorry tresses. No trips to Mama Syd’s class or Papa Chris’s shop and no nights spent in with them. I will miss the sight of palm trees, the sound of the train and the smell of cows. I will even miss the two days it takes to get there and the excitement that builds with each passing mile.
By default, we heard a good deal of the play even before we reached opening night or even dress rehearsal for that matter. We learned to anticipate the jokes and gags before their delivery and wait for our favorite moments. Each time made them funnier, fresher.
One line in particular struck me each time. All of the children of the family are upset about father’s declaration that ALL will stay in. They are whining to mother when she says,
“I know, but your father really DOES know best.”
Mother delivers her line in an unconvinced manner. She doesn’t agree with the sweeping decision that has been made, but she stands by her husband. I feel the same this December. I question the Father, feeling sad and lonely. I eagerly await the arrival of our newest Daniel and all of the things we will do at home for the very first time and the memories we’ll make and yet . . . Is this the BEST?
Certainly, God the Father DOES know what is the very best for us. We remind our children of it constantly and try and assure each other of it often. Why, then, do I question? Why do I hold on to the what’s been instead of focusing on the what will be? Why am I whining about staying in rather than going out this Christmas?
I keep asking the Lord to return the peace I felt before this month. It comes slowly with each night prayer we pray and each load of wash I put away instead of pack. My to-do list focuses on the baby and home instead of time lines and weather forecasts. I move back towards contentment and excitement even as I long for home.
Last night, the kid’s pronounced that the new pine candle smells like Mama Syd’s house. It’s true – it does smell like the behemoth trees she and Papa Chris pick out for the kiddos. We have the candle burning a lot to bring us comfort AND joy. And I think, even in this jar of wax, the Father knows best.