Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ghost of Christmas Past

Atlanta Botanical Gardens holiday lights

I have been away from my blog for awhile...I  am uninspired. Christmas has come and gone, and I enjoyed so little of it.  The new year is demanding attention, and I will soon be forced to give in to it.  I am dragging these last few days of 2011.  The ever present auto-immune disorders are nagging at me, and I have a bad case of the holiday let downs.  Holidays have lacked in appeal for me these last few years.  The shopping, cooking, cleaning and preparing for the big event is tiresome and any time I get to actually enjoy the holiday is fleeting.  I desperately want to find that peace and joy that this time of year is supposed to bring.  It is lost on me.  Don't get me wrong, I adore preparing Christmas for my son and step daughter.  It is pure pleasure watching them enjoy their moment.  That is really the only joy of Christmas for me. I guess that I am left to wonder, where is my moment?  Sounds selfish, I know, as Christmas is not about me.  It is about my children and the bigger picture - God's gift to us.  I should be happy and content.  I should not even have the nerve to say what I am about to...I just wish that the magic of that "special gift" would find me once again.  The impersonal gift cards are appreciated.  I will use them.  I give them for the same reasons I receive them. They are easy.  Seriously though, it is all fluff.  I am so tired of exclaiming "I love it", when I don't.  I appreciate the gift, don't get me wrong, but I am left uninspired. 

Once my mother started losing the battle with dementia, Christmas has not been the same for me.  My mother loved to shop and loved to buy for those she loved. It was a true talent.  One Christmas she bought the best leopard print, super fuzzy house shoes from Nordstrom's for me, my sister, my Aunt Angel and herself.  I love the pictures of us on that Christmas Eve in our holiday finery, wearing those fantastic slippers and drinking wine.  I cannot express what made these slippers so great, except that when we all tried them on, they felt like something you would wear in foot heaven and we felt special.  There were always very appropriate surprises from her.  I still carry a beautiful leather bag she so thoughtfully gave me on Christmas over 10 years ago. I will have it forever.  I did not know I needed this bag, but when I opened the box, there it was...a perfect black, soft leather, classic purse.  She was thoughtful that way.  I miss that thoughtfulness.  Sometimes she gave us cosmetics or fragrances. Mom always managed to charm samples out of the sales people, so that when we opened our gifts, not only was there our present, but loads of goodies to go with it!  If I asked for a nice pair of gloves, I would get the gloves...and a scarf and a hat, because really, you cannot just have a scarf without the rest.  Mom would wrap our presents in beautiful paper that she would adorn with fancy ribbons and bows. That was part of the fun with mom's gifts.  You knew that under that beautiful wrapping was going to be a wonderful surprise.  I miss those surprises she would have waiting for us.  She always gave me the perfect gift, that I never even knew I wanted, or needed, until I opened them.  That is why her gifts were so special...It was always perfect, and perfect for me

We visited mom at her memory care facility on Christmas morning.  She was in great spirits.  I am always struck with the natural beauty my mother possess, even in the throngs of this terrible disease.  Her skin is radiant and face, practically wrinkle free.  She laughs and she loves, which is the gift that I am most grateful for now.  We cannot have conversations and she cannot tell me what is happening inside her head, so I have to be happy with her expressions and the light of her eyes.  I wish, more than you can imagine, that she were with me and my family this Christmas.  Oh to raise a glass of holiday cheer with her once again, and giggle uncontrollably because we might have raised that glass a couple too many times.

I miss my mother desperately and I cannot lie and say that I am okay with how things are going.  I am not.  I am pissed off, I am sad and I want to scream.  I cannot forget how she was looking at me on Christmas morning when we visited her.  She was staring at me, smiling, and her eyes radiated such intense love.  She knew it was me, her daughter, and that she loved me.  She kept saying "Oh Jenny, you are so beautiful!", over and over.  I hold on to that moment as the best gift I received this Christmas.  That was the gift with all the magic.
Visiting Mom on Christmas morning - I LOVE her!

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