My daughter arranged for my Mom to surprise us and come for Christmas. Quite a feat considering Mom died four years ago.
For sixty years, I don’t think I ever spent one Christmas day without Mom at my dinner table. I know I was fortunate to have her for that long, but now she is gone and, with friggin Covid, it has been more than two years since my children have sat together with their Mom and Dad to share a meal. It is surreal. I am not dealing with anything most of you aren’t also dealing with but, as time goes on, I do get angrier and angrier at the unvaccinated. I give less and less f#cks about people who go about their lives as if there is no pandemic and then complain when they have to wear a mask or are inconvenienced at the border or lose their deposit on a vacation rental. Sigh, sorry… Back to happy stuff….
I will tell you a secret. It wasn’t just Santa I lied to my children about at this time of year. Not only did I tell another lie but I am quite proud about the idea for the lie.
On December 24th, around noon, I would start to play with all of the clocks in the house, slowly turning them all one hour ahead. After dinner my Mom would come for the evening. She lived around the corner and our children loved her. They would play their instruments while my mother would desperately try to get caroling going around the piano. Just before what the clock said was bedtime, the kids would put out the cookies for Santa and our resident atheist, E, would read the Christmas story from his family bible. Because it was Christmas we would “let” them stay up one hour past their normal bedtime and they would then go upstairs happily when we suggested they really should go to bed. The next day they all had had their normal amount of sleep which they needed to be happy campers for the day’s activities. Brilliant! It was one of the more brilliant ideas I had in my years of parenting…
As we lived those days, did we realize they were the best days of our lives? I think we probably did. We normally hosted the family dinner on the 25th and E’s father’s family on the 26th. The house full of family for days on end. I vividly remember the dishwasher on its third cycle one night as I cleaned up after the guests were gone past midnight..
The reason it was fun was because it was a team project, our entire family helped. I would make a big job jar which contained all of the chores which needed to happen before the guests arrived. The kids would come in and take one chore at a time, along with E and I, until the house was ready for Christmas. On the day, E would cook the turkey and I would see to the guests and do clean up.. It was a team project and we all loved every minute of it. Honestly, I have great kids, a great husband and they were the best of days.
Last night, we sat in front of the fire and our new Christmas tree, watching season appropriate movies and nibbled on cheese and crackers. Christmas cheese offerings always include Mclarens Imperial sharp cheddar which my Mother always served at this time of year. It wouldn’t be Christmas without that cheese with red pepper jelly. As I reminisced about it and E confirmed his Mom served that cheese too, we looked around the very beautiful room and toasted our Moms who are gone. We also toasted our children who are missed, but celebrated that we are still having pretty darn great days with just the two of us together. They are just different.
Mom coming for Christmas was my dream last night. There isn’t a day I don’t wish I still had her to celebrate Christmas with