My Mom was all about Christmas. My Dad could tell tales of the Christmas stores he has visited all over the planet. Rarely did they come home from Switzerland, New Zealand or Nova Scotia without a new ornament for the tree. Or a candle, a table cloth. Or all three.
Some of the most precious ornaments were a set of 8 or 10 crystal ones. I don't remember where Mom bought them, but they were very precious to her. Every year when she was decorating her tree, she would carefully place each crystal one in front of a light to make them sparkle.
Of course around the actual celebration of Christmas with my family, it might, I thought, be tough. It was a little different anyway since after 23 at my parents' home in West Vancouver, the gathering had a venue change. My older brother and his wife, the recipients of Mom's coveted Christmas dishes, hosted. A new tradition. (I am not sure if my brother and sister-in-law are aware we will be showing up on his doorstep on December 24th in perpetuity.)
I missed Mom the most on Christmas eve. Mom loved so much about celebrating Christmas together, but nothing like sitting in church with the whole family. We had to go early to find a pew that would accommodate all 13 of us. She loved sitting together. And introducing us to many of her friends afterwards. I missed her so much when we sang Away in a Manger. We sing it every Christmas eve. And I could almost hear her voice.
I may have completely lost myself in the moment had I not left the service to provide what comfort I could to Jackson as he lay down on the floor outside the men's washroom, writhing in gastrointestinal distress.
About a week before Christmas, Dad invited us all to his place on December 27th. He was to serve appetizers. It was the most fun I had all Christmas. The kids were busy playing with their new toys. The adults visited. And ate. And laughed. We started a new re-gifting tradition. Each adult brought a re-gifted item to the party and we drew numbers and played the trading game. It was much fun, with the most coveted item being a cow cookie jar. Cookies are removed from the cow's behind.
|My Mom, last Christmas|