Flying Kites Down the Stairs

DECEMBER 24, 2009 11:39AM

Red Light. Green Light.

Rate: 20 Flag

In stops and starts, we move forward, like that old kids’ game. Red light. Green light. Green light. Red light. Sometimes we’re sent back to the beginning, if we overstep or try to move ahead too quickly.


Divorcing was definitely a move forward for me, but it meant a lot of stops, too, like a stop to the Christmas Eve Open House with both sides of our family. I grieved more than celebrated the last two holidays.


This year is better, and I’m excited to be attending my sister’s celebration, instead of being the host at my own. Driving with two of my sons, I sing along to the radio, “Strings of streetlights, even stop lights, blink a bright red and green…” and they don’t even complain. The song reminds me that Christmas can be wherever you find it.


My joy is palpable in the car, since my middle son is there. His absence the last two years had been my biggest source of grief. Now, he’s taken his own steps forward at dealing with the divorce. His grin and carefully knotted tie make me smile all the way to Indiana, as much as his youngest brother’s jokes. Their sibs are driving separately, and they’re all eager to see the cousins who’ve  traveled from Springfield and Memphis, Oregon and Arizona.


We celebrate in a flurry of reminiscences and food, games and old  movies, and the White Elephant gift exchange that reminds us all of my Mom. We marvel at the two new additions to the family while honoring the memory of those no longer there. Green light. Red light. Green light.


At the end of the night, once windshields are scraped, and calls of “Be careful!” are absorbed by the air, my car is quiet on the return trip. We’re all tired. It’s late and the ice on the road makes me concentrate on my driving. I hope the brakes will hold at every red light, accelerate carefully as each light turns green.


On the highway the weather does something beautiful. Tail-lights blur in the mist of the rain, and green highway signs pop up out of the fog. The reds and the greens guide me all the way home, and I let out a sigh as I pull into the garage. We’ve all arrived safely.




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I loved the imagery of this and the reminder that life is a series of stop and go moments. Proceeding with caution is one thing. Living life that way means you never really move forward or ahead. I'm glad you have. It looks like things are moving in the right direction. Merry Christmas!
This season seems to pull out a whole range of emotions and feelings in ways that few others do. I love reading when someone has tried their best to overcome life's challenges. It leaves such a beautiful scent. Thank you for this post.
Rated and appreciated.
I was thinking about the yellow lights too, until I read cartouche's comment. The absence of yellow here makes perfect sense!
Happy Holidays Nora!
So happy you arrived home safely. I love the image of your son in the car with you. I know what a joy that can be. Merry Christmas. Great to see this post.
Happy Christmas, NN! Eat lots of desserts.
Wow. Powerful images here . . . wonderful work.
This was wonderfully written. A tribute to how time changes everything, heals all wounds, if you let it.
Starts and stops indeed. I related to this in many many ways. I so get this and your words are richly evocative.
Happy Christmas in Indiana, Nora. Beautifully written.
Step by step, colour by colour, life goes on. What a beautiful post Nora. I´m glad this Christmas brings your children and family together.
Merry Christmas and lots of love.
Yes, red light, green light. What a great metaphor. Divorce, kids and holidays are a touchy mix. Merry Christmas.
WSFTC - And thank you for the color open call. I'm chasing rainbows thanks to your suggestion.

cartouche - You've inspired me to ignore the caution and yield signs. Glad to see you 'home' for the holidays.

Dennis - First I did a surreptitious pit sniff, but noticed the word 'beautiful' so I guess that's not the scent you noticed lingering. (damn my insecurities)

spotted_mind - I hadn't given any thought to the yellows, til Cartouche made me think, too. Happy Holidays to you, too!

Merry Christmas, Polly, and I hope to follow your lead today and tomorrow, reveling in gluttony and snoozing in the glow of gold and cranberry.

Mumbletypeg - I've had Kolachkys and coffee for breakfast already. Have a happy day yourself, fellow desserter.

Thanks, Owl.

Lunchlady - Time can mend some things beautifully. Hope it stitches up the wound left by the loss of your Mom, a bit.

mypsyche - Glad you could relate, and hope you have found a way to keep on going.
Yay for reuniting with sons!
Nora---as we used to say back in the day---you rock! So happy to hear you made it home. Merry Christmas!
This is really quite lovely and well written. I'm glad it came out all right in the end.
Frank - I guess what I had was an Indiana Christmas Eve Eve (or is that Festivus?), and now I'm back in Chicago for Christmas. Hope you have a Merry Indiana Christmas.

Marcela - I'm about bursting with happiness to be with all my kids. It's so hard to want to rush the steps, but life's a good reminder to be patient. Feliz Navidad, and kisses back to you!

sweetfeet - Merry Christmas to you, too. It's a touchy mix, alright, and nice when things begin to feel more stable.

Deborah - I'll second your 'Yay!' Best Christmas present, ever.

Roger - I'm glad to be back in Chicago, too, spitty weather and all.
As we used to say, "Party hearty!" Hope you and Maria have a good one.
Great post. Green as far as I'm concerned.
Congrats on moving forward again. Cartouche summed it up well. If you stay forever in the caution zone, you're not living life to the fullest. It's a great feeling to reach the point where you're experiencing joy again. Wishing you a peaceful Christmas and a New Year of hope and more new traditions.
Thanks, marcelleqb, Lea, bikepsychobabble. I've got presents to wrap and sweet potatoes to bake. Will check in later to see more holiday colors!
Green all the way! :)
Just lovely. You have such a wonderfully heart-felt way with words. This was beautiful.
Sparking - As long as there are no speed bumps!

Kris - Thanks.

WalkAwayHappy - I can really relate to your last line, about being thankful for where we aren't going. I often stop just to notice that, and to appreciate the peaceful place I've gotten to.
The last line says it all. Holidays and family gatherings tend to bring out the worst and best of us. I'm glad you got to spend it with your loved ones.
"...and they don't even complain." Now that is a nice Christmas gift to their mom! Very nicely written. It's good to see you back at the keyboard.
I love this- it was perfect