I can’t believe that it’s six days before Christmas. In 12 days, 2011 will be over (YAY) and I’ll be embarking on a new year.
The strangest thing about this year is that I haven’t really been the in the holiday spirit. I’m just blah about the holidays, which is rare for me, since holiday time is something that I usually love. Last year was the first year without my mom and I was okay. My friends really helped out and made sure my sister and I didn’t go nuts. It was great and it was hard to remember she was gone.
This year tho, the holiday spirit just isn’t there. I’m trying to get myself into it, but I find myself missing my mom more this year. I feel like I’m mourning her loss around the holidays a year too late. I feel like last year should have been the hardest.
I find myself missing my mom’s awesome cooking. My mom wasn’t much of a cook; she was a single mom who worked long hours so she made what was convient. We ate A LOT of chicken. But when it came to the holidays, she would go all out and the food was amazing. She would always over do it. She’d seem to forget that there was only 3 of us and cook enough food for 15 people. The consequence of that is that we would have Christmas leftovers for what seemed like an eternity. Not to mention my mother also cooked outlandish amounts of food for thanksgiving as well.By the time the holidays were over…I didn’t even want to hear the word “turkey”.
Once she understood that we weren’t going to devour all her leftovers, she would freeze it. I remember coming home from college for the holidays, opening the freezer for some ice and seeing Christmas/Thanksgiving leftovers from last Christmas/Thanksgiving. They would be covered in ice fuzz, freezer burn and were practically unrecognizable. She always claimed she was saving them for later.
“Mom, really? These are still here?”
“Yup. Someone will eat it. I might heat some up tonight.”
“You said that last Christmas/Thanksgiving. And on St. Patricks Day. And on Easter.”
“You’ve been home ten minutes and you are already mouthing off…”
I’d usually wait til she wasn’t around to toss said leftovers. When I look back on it now, she probably did this on purpose to get me to clean out the freezer because she knew the year old left-overs would drive me nuts.
My mom also had some other uncanny christmas habits. My mom loved to save money so she would wait about a day or two before Christmas Eve, my mom would grab a tree. She knew that vendors really wanted to get rid of the extra trees so she was able to get a 109 dollar Douglas Blue Noble Fir (probably doesn’t exist, but it sounds expensive, right?) for 5 bucks or sometimes even free. She prided herself on this thriftiness and would love to tell others how much the tree was worth and how much she paid for it.
The downside to getting the tree that late is that she would keep the tree up well past the time appropriate to still have a Christmas tree. She claimed that she wanted to enjoy having the tree as long as someone who would have had their tree up since Thankgiving. I enjoy REAL Christmas trees as well, but having a Christmas tree well into March was kinda overboard, not to mention a fire hazard. The longest time she’s ever kept a tree up was early July, the year she passed. It was a really sad time, and I was completely broken as I returned to my moms house right after she died to grab some of her belongings. But, when I saw the Christmas tree I bought for her still up, decorated and so dead it was brown, I completely cracked up through my tears.
My mom wasn’t the best with plants; the majority of the plants at our house were dead or near death. My mom seemed to forget around say, two weeks or so, that Christmas trees are in the same family as plants and they need water. So, our living room would be come a minefield from all the fallen needles. Every year, my sister and I fell victim to one of those dried up Christmas tree needles. It was awful. Nothings worse than trying to go for a glass of milk or water in the middle of night than falling to the floor in agony because you stepped on a tree needle. Those things hurt BAD, and they draw blood.
When we would complain, my mom simply replied, “I can’t water the tree; I get poked when I try to water it.”
“Really Mom? That’s what happens when you stop watering plants.”
She’d tell us to stop whining and vacuum up the needles, which was also painful. My sister and I would finally get sick of getting assaulted by my mothers fire hazard Christmas tree, throw on some long sleeves and gloves and chuck the tree outside of the house. One year, we couldn’t get in on top of our car to take it to the dump because of the stab wounds from its dead needles. So, it stayed on our porch for months. It was such an eyesore. I think one of our neighbors took pity on us and either set fire to it or threw it away.
My mom was also a sucker for Christmas lights. We would pile into our car during the holidays and check out all the neighborhoods in Marietta and Roseville to see all our neighbor’s lights. We would drive for hours, Christmas music blasting and marvel at our neighbors creativity. One of my mother’s favorite places to visit for lights was at Life College in Marietta. They would decorate the entire campus with lights and displays. We would drive the campus and then get out to pet the animals every year. One year, I poked a donkey in the eye ( I wanted to know whether or not it was real, and in my defense I was eight) so my mother wouldn’t allow me to pet anything unless she was around.
Because my mom enjoyed the Christmas lights so much herself, she attempted to deck out our house every year. My mother had a huge box of Christmas lights, tangled into one massive ball of chaos. She usually recruited my sister and I to detangle them, which took hours. Once we got them untangled, she’d have us plug them in to see if they worked. Usually about 50 percent of the lights didn’t work. She’d go out and purchase more to put on the tree then put the dysfunctional lights up outside. She’d claim that they were blinking lights and that was why people never saw the other half of non working lights light up. She’s also leave these lights up most the year. It was quite funny.
In writing this and remembering all the things she used to do around the holidays that drove me nuts, I realize how much I miss her. I know that the holidays will never be the same because she is no longer around but it will get easier. I guess with time I can start to make my own memories and continue to share the ones I have of her with others.