Christmas presence

Season’s greetings. Photo of an Oxfam Christmas card. CC BY SA Teresa MacKinnon

We are all expecting presents this holiday, we may have spent many hours shopping for presents for loved ones too. However, we cannot be sure of their presence on the big day thanks to the uncertainty that has blighted our lives for 2 years or so now. I have to admit I had taken this Christmas for granted, tried not to think of the unthinkable possibility that I may not be able to be with my grown up children on Christmas day…Sadly, one, my youngest son, has tested positive and will now have to isolate. Joining us only via zoom.

I have spent years working in virtual exchange and I know there are many ways we can create meaningful presence online. A close friend, collaborator and colleague recently ran this workshop session exploring the importance of social presence with practitioners in different locations in the world.

So all is not lost. My son is fine, he will be released from isolation next week and meanwhile I have loaded up the car to deliver seasonal treats. Christmas lunch will also arrive on his doorstep, his dad and brother suitably attired will see to that. So why do I feel so down?

Carbs for Christmas. Photo CC BY Teresa MacKinnon

We are old hands at connecting online:

Skype screenshot CC BY Teresa MacKinnon

Perhaps it is because the biggest, most significant present or gift I have ever had has been to be mum to my boys. Their presence is my present – the gift that matters most of all. I need to refocus and be grateful for all they have given me just by being alive. That’s not a given during a pandemic, especially when you have been working in a hospital caring for covid patients as my youngest son has. He has witnessed suffering and grief that I can only imagine. He’s not yet 30 years old.

If I can choose one thing that I can learn from this separation at such a significant time it is to treasure every moment we have in the presence of our loved ones. To be fully present in those moments. I will try to remember this as nothing else really matters.

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