The Little Bagpipe Boy – Being Yourself is the Best Present.

The Bagpipe Boy

Bagpipe Boy

It’s the Eve of Christmas Eve.  There is a “to-do” list tomorrow.  However, I feel no stress or anxiety around these things.

Whenever I have come home to Chicago around the holidays, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind, adrenaline rush: getting from here to there, playing Santa for my elderly parents, getting all the shopping and wrapping and decorating and visiting done, rushing from one side of this big city to the other.

This year is different. It’s quieter – inside and out.  First of all, of course, Dad’s gone.  His absence is felt, an undercurrent running through the daily stream of activities.  He’s not sitting at the table, but I hear his voice, and sense of humor, in my heart. And my brother Dan is gone another year, but still seems just a heartbeat away.

Dad - the Jokester!

Dad – the Jokester!

My sweetheart isn’t here, either.  He is holding down the fort in Taos, juggling two jobs.  He’s also watching our sweet dog – Roxy.

Christmas Puppy

Christmas Puppy

Last time I was here in Chicago, Tilghman was with me, at my side, holding me through Dad’s funeral.  He had returned to Delaware a few weeks ago to see his aging Dad, at Thanksgiving. So we are spending both of these holidays apart – first time in five years. But it’s okay.  Sometimes life calls you in different directions. We’ll be together in a few days and will ring in the New Year. We are able to do this journey, a day at a time, both together and apart.

Me & My Sweetie

Me & My Sweetie, Tilghman Evans

Mom’s doing okay, just slowing down as is normal as the years add up. She’s holding up remarkably well, given that her brother was buried this morning in Ireland. It is good to be with her.  I am moving more slowly, being present. There’s really no rush. There’s nothing to prove.

I can’t afford to splurge on presents this year with four trips to Chicago in the past year, since my dad’s decline, and my sister Anne and I were working to find the best way forward for Mom & Dad. So there’s no rushing around the malls, except to help Mom get the things she needs to stay warm during an especially frigid winter.  I can calm down, breathe, be.

Mom & my sister Anne

Mom & my sister Anne

Every night I look forward to this nearly midnight ritual of writing the blog. I share a “cuppa” tea with my Mom in the late evening, and then I retire to the guest room I’ve been able to stay in down the hall for the past three nights.  It’s humbling to be staying amongst the elderly at the Central Baptist Village.  To listen to their stories at the dinner table, the stories of children and grandchildren they are so proud of, or frustrated with, or estranged from – the whole range of human drama.

It’s almost midnight and I pledged to get this posted every day. I am down to the wire. This is the sweetest ‘adrenaline’, the rush for the daily deadline. Maybe I am a journalist after all, at heart.  Time will tell.

My final thoughts before Christmas Eve officially starts are inspired by the “little drummer boy” Christmas carol.  The little drummer boy had no gift to bring that was “fit to give a King.”  He decided to just be himself and was inspired.  “I’ll play my drum for Him – pa-rumpa-pum-pum. I played my best for Him, pa-rumpa-pum-pum… Then He smiled at me, pa-rumpa-pum-pum. Me and my drum.”

In my parents’ Nativity set, there was not a drummer boy.  But there was a bagpipe player!  I guess this was the Irish twist on the drummer boy.

I feel like the little drummer boy.  I am not bearing many gifts this year. But I am writing. That’s my drum. I gave myself – in this writing. I played my best for Him (and for you and me, too), every day, every night – whatever my best was that day.  And all is good.

I played my best for Him.

I played my best for Him.

May you have a beautiful, blessed, safe and Merry Christmas.

1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Love this post.

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