An Imperfect Holiday

This was written after seeing Rachel’s Picture Prompt.  If you haven’t checked out her blog, you should.

She gazed out the window watching the snow fall.  Christmas was tough.  Although it had been three years since they’d received the news, the holiday still held a fresh pain that, at times, took her breath away.  Not having a child at Christmas was brutal.  Knowing you’d never have one was worse.  How had her life come to this?  Sure, from the outside it looked wonderful.  Snuggled on the couch with an over-sized blanket.  Hot cocoa in hand.  Cute dog burrowed in her lap.  But the emptiness inside seemed to stretch as she counted her blessings.

She glanced around the room.  It was the best reminder that she wasn’t keeping it together as well as she thought.  No tree.  No decorations.  No holiday music.  It was too painful a reminder of what she was missing.  Now, though, the absence felt like just as stark a reminder as having the decorations would.  Oh well, tomorrow was Christmas Eve, and she wasn’t going to find the energy to put everything up in one evening.  She knew herself well enough to just forget it this year.

That first Christmas had been rough.  Finding the news out around Thanksgiving, she’d insisted on trying to keep everything “normal.”  Whatever that meant.  She’d diligently decorated the day after Thanksgiving just like her Mother-in-Law did.  She’d carefully placed all of the ornaments on the tree, holding in tears like she would melt if they spilled out.  Last year, she’d known better.  But her husband had tried to be sweet and put up the lights and garland outside while she was away on business.  He’d meant it as a thoughtful gesture, but she’d broken down in sobs as soon as she pulled in the driveway.  The first wave caused by the pain of being childless.  The second wave was knowing she was hurting his feelings after he tried so hard.  After that, he knew better than to mention the holiday or try thoughtful gestures again.

Well, that wasn’t entirely true.  Her eyes drew to the window again.  She spotted a figure out in the storm, shoveling a path for their adorable pup to get through the snow to play.  Even if she knew the pain of being childless would always haunt her, at least she had a partner who understood that, for now, it needed to be a silent pain.  A partner that would still treat her like a prize, even though he now knew her to be defective.  A partner that was sticking with her, even through this dark time they shared.

She smiled for the first time in what felt like days at the sight of him.  Working hard to care for their furry friend, even as the snow immediately filled in his path.  He was a good man for loving her, and that, at least for now, would be her focus to get through the days ahead.  She sipped her cocoa, her eyes darting around the room.  It was still empty.  There was no denying that.  But maybe it felt a smidge less lonely.


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