My favorite time of year begins at the start of football season, and it’s not just because I love a good game of football. It’s everything else, too: the cooler weather (even though just today the temperature around here got up to over 70 degrees before plummeting into the 20s), the holiday decorations, the family gatherings, the comfort food, the turning leaves, the breaks from work. This final week before Christmas, though, has always been bitter-sweet for me because, although I’m excited about Christmas Day, I also know that that day signifies the end of my favorite season. And yeah, there’s New Years Day and Día de los Reyes and even the Superbowl, but those are just after-thoughts to me. They’re just there to soften the blow when you’re hit by the harsh realization that next Christmas is a whole entire year away.
The past few days leading up to this final week have been interesting. So many things going on, so many emotions. Feeling blessed one second and guilty the next. Thankful for living conditions in which my loved ones and I are safe, healthy, well-nourished, and comfortable every day, and at the same time heartbroken for those who have nothing left. I’m worried about the future in a way I’ve never really been, and everything just seems to be tinged with negative thoughts. I’m still hopeful, but less so, you know? Like there’s just a shadow of a doubt hovering over everything, and maybe that’s the way it ought to have been all along, I don’t know.
I came to another realization this week. You know how when you start dating someone, or even when you just meet someone as a friend, and you start to get to know them and you think they’re freaking amazing at first–like everything they say and do is so fantastic, so witty, so creative, whatever–but then, over time you inevitably begin to see their faults and their flaws, and for a moment you’re disappointed, maybe angry, maybe sad, or at least your expectations are shattered… and it’s not their fault–it’s yours for having had such high expectations of them–but it still hurts? Well, this week I discovered that the same thing happens between parents and their kids. There comes a time when, as a son or daughter, you suddenly look at your mother or your father and see not a mother or a father but just an ordinary person. Not an all-knowing superhero with the power to make everything better, but just a less than perfect human being. You begin to see flaws you hadn’t seen before, and it’s uncomfortable, unsettling, even scary in a way.
Yeah. I think my kids have reached that stage. I’m starting to lose my super powers, and it sucks. I know it’s okay. It happens to everyone, I guess, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. It’s like they’re seeing for the first time that Wonder Woman’s powers were only special effects, that her Lasso of Truth was just a regular rope and that her invisible plane was nothing but air. I know it’s important for them to see that I am just an ordinary, imperfect person with faults and flaws aplenty, but at the same time a part of me feels as if I’m letting them down.
I guess this is what happens when your kids start to grow up. Pretty soon their childhood will be gone altogether, and all I will have left are my memories of the time when they thought I was as close to perfect as I could possibly be. Sigh… but it’ll be okay. It’s just another season, right? And there will always be something to celebrate, like leaves sprouting and birds chirping happily in the spring. Besides, they still love me, and honestly I should be grateful because instead of loving a fictional Hollywood character, they are beginning to love the Lynda Carter in me. I can live with that.