By Lynda Shadbolt
Jim and I live in our home at the end of Riverside where we have been for 31 years. It is our little piece of paradise in the world. We overlook the Great Green Meadow, we have lots of birds that come to our feeders, we have lovely, lovely neighbours and our home is cozy and filled with things made by our friends and family. We love to walk our dog. Jim is busy with woodworking projects. At this time of year, I love to sit quietly and enjoy the lights, Christmas music and a good cup of coffee. We live a simple life, and it works for us.
This is the first year that our daughter, Madeline, will not be coming home for Christmas. She works for the Kingston Association for Community Living and she has shifts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. She loves the job and is having so much fun getting ready for Christmas with the people she serves (PSS). They have been writing letters to Santa, putting up the tree, decorating the house, planning menus, shopping for gifts and watching Christmas movies. She is in Kingston where the COVID numbers are high. She is smart and follows all protocols to ensure her health, and the health of the PSS and her fellow co-workers.
One of our family traditions is to light the four advent candles in December. They represent hope, joy, love, and peace – the order changes depending on who you talk to. Each candle gives us something to talk about and focus on for the week. We lit the love candle last week and I happened to be taking a course that was about how we can each bring a “cosmic sized love” to our ordinary, everyday, simple lives. How can we bring love to ourselves, our families, our friends, our community, and the planet? In the course they asked us what are the things we do in December to remember that we are loved, to remember that we are connected to all of life? To remember what we love and what we are passionate about. How can we let love be the priority in our lives? I was talking to Madeline the other night and she was full of stories about her Christmas and the PSS. The staff have lots of surprises planned for them. Madeline organized matching pyjamas for everyone in the house for Christmas morning.
As she told me this, we reminisced about all the years that Mrs. Claus left her pyjamas (and one year a beautiful hand-knitted blanket, thanks Beth) on Christmas Eve. She always loved that tradition and is passing it on. Cosmic sized love in her ordinary everyday job.
I am not going to lie, I miss her and her liveliness, but am so grateful to her and everyone who is spreading love at this time of year, and all year. Love is what is going sustains us and helps us to grow. We are love. Every one of us.