Monday, December 28, 2009

My first Christmas without her

I did pretty well this Christmas. No crying in the service when we attended my grandparent's church for the Christmas Eve candlelight service that she loved so much. I held back the tears when my mother opened the "Tree of memory" glass ornament I gave her. I wanted so much to give her what she really had wanted, but what can you do when you ask your mom what she wants for Christmas and all she can tell you in a quiet, shaky voice is "I want my mom back"? I held myself together at the big family gathering where her absence was as obvious as a big gaping wound despite everyone's eforts to press on with the festivities. Luckily I was alone in the car every time I heard this song on the radio, because I lose it every single time.

And it was just November past
She said goodbye, and breathed her last
And the great grandchildren miss her so
But if she could she would let them know …
This is my first Christmas
First time to hear the angels sing
Glory, hallelujah to the risen king
And a holy night is what this is
‘Cause this is my first Christmas
This is my first Christmas.
-excerpt from "My First Christmas" by Carolyn Arends. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December frenzy

I thought Christmas was busy enough last year. This fall I accepted a second job as a "clinical facilitator" which roughly translates into bringing wide-eyed nursing students into the hospital and trying to let them do nurse-things while trying to prevent them from damaging the children we are trying to help heal. It's been a busy term juggling students between my regular job days where I get to do the work myself (instead of standing by cringing).  And home life is just as busy as ever. - Hence the lack of blog entries these last months.

But now add the Christmas rush, the decorating, the buying gifts, the baking (which used to consist of a carefully planned list of quadruple batches of 8 different recipes to provide my family with platters and my mother with a freezer stocked, as well as tins for relatives, now not even requiring a slip of paper - how hard is it to remember shortbread and gingerbread?). That would be busy enough, but lucky me the school term happens to end at Christmas meaning slogging through and marking the last of the student papers, filling out in-depth 15 page evaluations on each student, and scheduling meetings to break the news of how they did just in time for Santa.

I love tradition. Already bought all the candies for decorating the gingerbread house that I have to make sure we get around to baking. Already decided what the boys should wear to see Santa at the mall...

Bruce took the dog (and the boys) to the pound to get Rita a Santa picture for a fundraiser one Saturday while I was working. It was a picture for Rita, but the couch was big enough for them all. I like the tradition of going to Polo Park and getting the pre-requisite picture of the boys with the ornate background and the Santa with a real beard, but this year I'm just going to have to resist my anal tendancies and say good "enough".