I just stepped on a land mine.
I was wrapping Christmas presents and, in need of a bow, I opened up a box of used bows and ribbons from last year's presents (yes, I save ribbons and bows - I can't bear to throw out perfectly good ribbons and bows).
Mixed in with the glittery selections were a few tags from gifts we were given last year. I picked one up to untangle it from the clutches of a particularly stubborn piece of ribbon - it was from my sister to me. The next one I picked up was tangled in some beautiful blue and white star ribbon. It was tied to a sparkly little twig with shiny blue berries and frosted white leaves. On the tag was a little deer surrounded by birds.
I opened it and read To Peanut with love from Auntie Kathy.
I stared at the tag.
I remembered the adorable little blue cowboy jacket, onesie and suede mittens that were in the box which that ribbon and tag were snuggly wrapped around last Christmas.
They were for Thomas, those gifts my sister picked out so lovingly at the One of a Kind Craft Show in Toronto last year. She could hardly wait for me to see them, and I loved them. I couldn't wait to see Thomas in the little blue jacket with the soft suede fringe. It would have fit him now - he would be wearing it now.
I finally forced my fingers to separate the tag from its ribbon and I wrapped up a present for Kathy using the ribbon that was on her gift to Thomas last year. It felt like the right thing to do. When I finished, I put the present under our tree, sat down, picked up the tag again and started to cry.
I miss him more than I'll ever be able to express. If I started writing now and didn't stop until the day I died I could never explain the pain of losing that sweet little boy we loved and wanted so much.
But what I can do is send a hearty FUCK YOU to the ghost of Christmas past. I didn't need that today. I didn't need it this week or this year. Don't you know everything about Christmas is agonizing? Was it absolutely necessary to dig the knife in just *that* much deeper?
My consolation is that using the ribbon on Kathy's gift made me feel really good. It's like a little hug from Thomas wrapped around her gift.
One day I'll tell her that.
But not today. Today I just need to get through the rest of my wrapping. That will be accomplishment enough.