Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Naughty List

Tonight she asked if I could snuggle in bed with her.
She wanted me up close and holding her hand...that's rare these days, so I went with it.
She didn't say much.
But the quiet wasn't comforting.
It was heavy and it made the room seem extra dark.

All of a sudden, out came the question...
"Do you think I'm on The Naughty List?"


Let me set something straight right now.

I'm not a fan of the Naughty List.
I don't use it...or talk about it...or even mention it.
And she hadn't done one thing that would be even close to earning The Naughty List distinction and yet, here it was.

I'm not a fan of doing good because you are guilted into it.
I know that must seem ironic since I am most definitely Catholic and we are good at guilt.

I'm all about doing good, being good, acting good 
because it's the right thing to do...
because that's who you are...
because you know what's important and you value it.

So the tiny voice asking about The Naughty List sunk me.

I had to snuggle in bed and take a deep breath and think about things...
I got close to her soft sweet cheek and whispered to her the only comfort I could bring.
"I know for sure you're not on The Naughty List.
For sure.
No doubt about it."
"Remember, I'm friends with Santa...good friends...I know."

Her body softened ever so slightly and I held her hand in the dark.

I inwardly cussed out whoever created that crappy old story we dish out to poor unsuspecting kids.

We know when we blow it.
We don't need The Naughty List adding another layer to our Big Mistake.

I tried to explain about the process of living and the idea that mistakes are just part of the deal.
I tried to assure her that the normal, day in day out, stuff of life was just that.
Santa understood.

But it's a tough gray zone.

We make mistakes...does that make us "bad"?
Are we only as good as our last mistake?
How do we ever make up for our mistakes?

Do you ever get off The Naughty List?


In the dark, listening to her breathe, feeling her familiar little hand, smelling her sweet Caroline scent I remembered another mother on another December night fighting for her life.
She died on December 23rd. of breast cancer. leaving behind a 4th grader and a 2nd grader when Jack and Mary Kate were in 3rd and 1st.

There was a time, long ago, when every mommy moment of mine was suffused with all of the mommy moments she had never had...that her boys never knew.
In my kids' teen years, when it was hard, I held close the privilege it was to be right there in the center of the ugly.
Even when it was extra hard I thought of her...and her white chocolate and cranberry scones.

But I admit, I hadn't thought of her for a long while.
Until tonight...when my December 22nd sliding into December 23rd reminded me...
of how lucky we are to be right there for the hard-ness, the bad-ness, the I-can't-believe-this-is-my life-and-not-some-really-bad-movie ugliness.

Life is hard.
Really it is.

Why add The Naughty List?

Tonight, as of this very minute, it's gone.
Santa has no list.
He doesn't need one.
Dude, you are good...so good...and if you're not...well, we'll deal.

You don't need no list to tell you a thing.

Trust your gut.
Know yourself.
Own your actions.
Fix your mistakes.
Make it better.
Move on.

Tonight I'm grateful for late night snuggles and quiet questions in the dark.
That's the good stuff.
The Naughty List, on the other hand, well, that can hit the road.

And Mary Lou, we still miss you.
Still don't understand.
Still wish it weren't so.

December 23rd is hard.every time.

1 comment:

  1. You my sweet friend are on my list of Beautiful Souls..........

    and I love you and cherish your friendship.

    Amazing post