Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I don't exactly spring out of bed Christmas morning. That would be ill-advised at my age. There are no children clambering at the door wanting me to accompany them down the stairs to see what Santa has deposited under the tree. And we all know they have already checked out  the scene in the pre-dawn, still dark hours.
I cooked the ham last night slicing away, electric knife whirring, saving the bone and scraps for bean soup, Sonny's favorite. I concocted a vegan potato salad with white wine vinegar, Dijon, honey and mint.  Another salad needs to be constructed and this will be couscous, a funny sounding word and the pasta feels rolypoly in my mouth, little beads sliding around. Add tomatoes, almonds, purple onion, lemon juice.

Jason will  prepare a vegan cheese cake from tofu and organic graham crackers. Cowboy Dave ate lots of it last year, forgetting that it was a healthy version of the original recipe.
Over dinner last night Sonny asked about Tom and Jerry, the drink, not some body's cousins and I had told him earlier in the month that I would be preparing this recipe. At $3.99 a pint and at the end of my extended Christmas budget - it would be a bit much. I'm making wassail, I say, and a shadow of disappointment crosses my father's eyes. Last night I look into the cave of my one big closet and see my mother's Tom and Jerry bowl and cups set far back. Wearily, I close the door and climb the steps for bed. Today I go back, dig the thing out and put the cups in the dishwasher. I handle each cup gingerly knowing my mother was the last person to wrap and pack them. The newspaper wrappings are from 1984 and I smile at the haircuts and the colorful balloon-like dresses. I had just started a new job at the Department of Human Services that year and was still reeling from my divorce. My youngest child was eight years old and still believing in the Santa man.

And I think of my mother, so much a part of every Christmas. I now have some of her decorations. The little angel set that spelled out the word NOEL holding birthday candles. They have been broken so many times and my father would patiently glue them back together, tiny spider web cracks still noticeable. My mother had written "give to Dawn" on a faded piece of masking tape on the box.
I stop at the hospital gift shop looking for a present for my daughter, something pretty as all the gifts I have chosen for her are utilitarian in nature. The shop is too confining and my breathing turns shallow.  The last time I was here my mother was dying and I leave hurriedly, my eyes automatically drawn to the third floor window where she had lain.
And so it goes. This afternoon the family comes together and we drink wassail from my mother's amber glass cups. There will be old stories to tell and new stories to speculate on the horizon.  We are making a new memory this day, the first Christmas without my mother. And we are doing all right, I think, all right.

1 comment:

MrDaveyGie said...

WoW those NOEL angels, memories flood my thoughts now. Phewwwwwwww.

It was amazing talking to Jason yesterday, the million sights, scenes, and peoples he has seen is only totally known by him. I hope he can post on FaceBook sometimes for his year journey to other worlds.