The Holidays are approaching and I just dragged boxes of Snowmen out from underneath my back porch stairs. I've collected these snowmen for many years and cherish each and every one of them. They sit pompously displayed on a shelf that once was in my hallway but is now in my new dining room since I knocked a wall out in the summer.
As the Holidays approach I remember my mom. She loved Christmas with a passion, especially the decorating part of it. During the last five years of her life, after Iris died, she didn't want to decorate alone so I would always be the designated decorator (worker). Mom's house was very large and DRAFTY. She kept her heat so low I had to keep my coat on most of the time. Oh, I would pitch a fit sometimes and go to mom's house with a bad attitude (which I regret now). I didn't want to have to pull her tree, ornaments, and thousand boxes of Christmas shit all the way up from the basement. I didn't want to have to put up her tree and decorate it. I didn't want to decorate her fireplace mantle while she sat in her chair with her two spoiled cats in her lap. She had A LOT of Christmas stuff and a very, big house!! One year I went to her house with such a horrible attitude. I was MAD that I was the one who had to do all of that work and boy, even though I was an adult, I acted like a child. How can a daughter be MAD when her mom has cancer, is bald, fighting for her life for 15 years, and weak? I was just MAD. I was MAD because my marriage of 24 years was in the shithole and I was going through divorce. I wasn't thinking about her at this time. I was wrapped up in ME. Somehow mom understood this and never said a word about my attitude. She just asked me " What's your fucking problem? I have fucking cancer". After mom said that to me I got on past my own, selfish issues and moved on with decorating. I have so many regrets about that now and I'm sure Mom is laughing at my guilt.
Now I reflect on those memories. Christmases spent with my mom. She always lit the fireplace, had Christmas music filling the house and wine-o-plenty. After I was mad I realized I was actually having a good time. When I was a big grump, trudging boxes up from the basement, she laughed at me, took photos and said, "Oh Chrissa, someday you'll miss these days." And, that I do. We laughed, shared juicy gossip, reminisced about Christmases long ago. Boy, it's amazing the gossip the two of us juiced about. It was so much fun, so much laughter and so much ease.
I would do anything to have mom back, sitting in her chair, watching me decorate her big old, drafty house. I would do anything to see her lighting a fireplace, pouring me a glass of wine and selecting Dean Martin Christmas music just for me.
All I have is a wooden box, that I talk to all of the time, with her ashes in it. I decorate her box for all of the holidays but I especially decorate it at Christmas Time. She'd like that and is most likely laughing at me for decorating a box of ashes. Mom had that kind of humor.
How much I took for granted is a sin. How much I had I think I knew. How much I miss I never expected.
Merry Christmas Mom. I love you.