I knew this Christmas season would be difficult for me. I’ve done my best to write my feelings into submission but they are stealthily lying just below the surface, waiting to bubble up when I least expect them.
Last night I celebrated Christmas with my brother and his family. Nagging work schedules bumped the holiday up by a couple of days but any change in the old routine is a welcome change. I arrived at the house with my food contributions, my secret Santa gift and the scrapbook I made of pictures of my mom so she could be with us in spirit. What I wasn’t expecting was this:
My nephew had taken one of the candles I made for my mom’s memorial service in May, created a beautiful Christmas display and placed it in the middle of the room so she was with us during our celebration. I now know how the Grinch felt when his heart grew three sizes. I was so moved and my heart swelled so much that I thought it would burst out of my chest. It was all I could do not to hug him until he turned blue.
That gift, that display made by a 14-year-old boy to honor the memory of his Nana, is, by far, the best gift of 2014. I could not bring myself to show too much emotion for fear that the tears would come and never stop. Instead, we high-fived and continued on with the merriment. Gifts were opened, food was consumed and a great amount of laughter was shared. I learned to never again go in a swimming pool with my brother (future blog post) and I learned that the spirit of Christmas was not tarnished by the absence of my mother, but lives on in the way we keep her spirit alive.
The tears finally came shortly after I got home. They did not come slowly or poetically but exploded out of my body to make room for my swollen heart. I can only hope that both of my nephews learned a few things about Christmas. It isn’t about the material things wrapped in bags or boxes. Christmas is about the people who are wrapped in your heart and doing everything you can to make sure they stay there.
Merry Christmas to all of you and may you enjoy the true spirit of the holidays.