It’s that time of year, again.
Christmas music is playing non-stop, the stores are jam-packed with holiday shoppers, and kids are busy making their lists to send to Santa praying they’re on the nice list – not the naughty one.
The Princess and I have been busy attending Christmas concerts and enjoying the company of good friends and good food.
The outside lights are up, the tree decorated and my Dicken’s Christmas Village painstakingly set up with careful attention given to the placement of each piece before having snow dumped all over it for that added, cozy Christmas touch.
The holiday season is here in full force. I’m laughing, listening to Christmas carols and starting plans for my Christmas dinner party.
God has been good. We have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food to eat and the love of family and friends.
So, why do I feel so empty? Why does my heart ache?
The (Dicken’s) Christmas Village that I started years ago was bought with money that my Mom sent me in my early days in CA. Bought with the thought of times past and the innocent memory of childhood trips to our downtown to see lights strung on Xmas trees and store fronts.
As a child, we didn’t have a car, and my Mom hoofed it to work every day and stood on her feet for hours-on-end at a Jewish Bakery in upstate NY; schlepping rye bread and jam-filled jelly doughnuts to an endless stream of customers who waited patiently to purchase fresh baked goods and to chat with the animated Italian who had a smile as bright as a summer day.
She could wait on 2 to 3 customers at a time, give a hug and a cookie to a munchkin and make everyone feel loved and important; all without breaking a sweat.
And home she trudged through snow and ice after a hard day of standing on her feet, only to be greeted by youngsters anxious to go downtown to look at the Christmas lights twinkling in store front windows and draped on snow covered trees.
“Please, Mom,“ I’d beg. “We’ve all eaten dinner and I’ve washed and put away the dishes. Can you please take us downtown? Please, please, please?”
“I’ll help pull the little ones on the sleigh and we won’t ask for anything, Mom.”
“Honest,” I’d plead.
“We won’t ask for anything,” I continued, looking at her with my best puppy dog eyes.
And Mom being Mom, she quickly grabbed something to eat, bundled us all up and off we’d go downtown looking at lights and talking about our school day.
Over the years, I’ve added on to my Dicken’s Village and always smiled with love and fond memories of a time when we were poor with material comforts, but rich with Mom’s love and steadfast support.
This Christmas season my heart aches for a time past when the snow filled our sidewalks and the tree lights sparkled on the snow as our sled quietly slid-on through the new blanket of white stuff.
As an adult, Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, and I’ve always called my Mom to share with her the joys of the season.
I never realized until recently how my Mom mirrored that joy and how much happier I was after sharing my experiences with her.
With Mom’s passing this October, I find my mirror has a crack and my joys are not as colorful, not as merry.
She wouldn’t want me to feel sad and I’m trying hard to stay merry, but there are times a certain song, a certain smell, a certain Christmas scene takes me back to a time when my Mom was my Mom, and I was her little girl.
And my heart aches for one more moment, one more conversation, one more Christmas memory to share with my mom.
“Merry Christmas, Mom. I love you to the moon and back. Always have. Always will.”
I wish for all of you the merriest of Christmas’s and a Happy New Year, and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.
Thank you for your continued love and support.