This year was the third Christmas without my mom’s physical presence. The 1st Christmas after she died I didn’t know what to do. My husband’s family celebrates on Christmas Eve and I work every Christmas Eve. My family has gotten so big that most of us have in-law’s and are unavailable on Christmas Day.
The last year my mom was alive my husband, Bill and I brought her to a Chinese buffet on Christmas Day. I’m so glad we did. It was a big snow storm and the street she lived on didn’t get plowed until the next day. She kept telling us not to come because it was too much trouble and we wouldn’t get through all the snow. We put a shovel in the trunk and went. We followed tire tracks on her street to prevent getting stuck. My husband shoveled out a place to pull over at her curb while I waited in the car in the middle of the street; once or twice I had to circle the block when a car wanted to get through. I got parked and he shoveled up to the house and we got mom and went out to eat. The restaurant was pretty full and we had a great time. After dinner we went to mom’s house for a while and opened presents. That was the last year I did the “present thing”. Ever since she died I have this thing which I can’t really explain but I don’t want any presents. Not for my birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, our anniversary or any other occasion. I don’t give them and I don’t want to receive them. There’s really nothing material that I want that I don’t already have. Material things have lost their value. If I really need something, I get it myself.
My husband and I have tried to make our own tradition. Each year we go to Starbucks in the morning for coffee, see a movie and eat at a Chinese buffet. That’s our tradition now. The first and second year I was so sad; it felt really empty and something just wasn’t right. But that started to change this year somehow; I don’t know what happened but this year I wasn’t so sad. Maybe Christmas has gotten to be just another day in my life; nothing special.
The last Christmas mom was alive my sister and I baked cookies at her house about a week before Christmas. Mom sat at the table and chatted with us. She would help us decide if the cookies were done and we would sample them together. The first Christmas after mom died I baked over 800 cookies; 11 different kinds. The second Christmas I baked 1700+ cookies; 17 different kinds. Baking cookies was therapy for me and I knew it was. I baked every afternoon for over a month. This year; I didn’t bake cookies at all. It was over somehow, I didn’t need to do it anymore. The week before Christmas I realized I hadn’t baked anything and I made a batch of Peanut Blossoms and Sugar cookies. I’m healing.