"Christmas isn't the same anymore." That's what my mom said last night.
"Your father loved Christmas and it doesn't seem the same without him."
I found these old photos in a long-empty chocolate box when I was looking for photos of him and Aunt Judy for my last post. When all of these were taken, Christmas was pure, unadulterated magic. My siblings and I would get so wound up on Christmas Eve that we'd puke all night. My poor mother. It was bad enough, doing all the work she had to do to prepare, without the added burden of holding back hair, wiping foreheads and cleaning up from those who didn't make it down the hall.
My mom says Christmas isn't the same without Dad, but it has always been Mom who has made the holiday spring to life. She never missed a beat: all the food was homemade and fabulous. Her fudge was neighbourhood renowned. She stored it in a green Tupperware crisper in the bar fridge in the basement, making it in advance so there'd be plenty on Dec. 25. We'd steal it every chance we got in the weeks before, until, invariably, she'd be forced to make fudge on Dec. 24 because we'd cleaned the Tupperware out of everything but crumbs.
Mom had a record book for Christmas cards. In the days before computers, this was her storage unit of addresses, births, deaths, who sent a card last year, who was sent a card, new people, old people – it was all there. As a result, our own house was filled with cards from well-wishers from far and near. Mom hung them all over the house, resplendent in their own Christmassy glory.
She shopped, she wrapped, she decorated, she baked, she worked and worked and worked and I never heard a word of complaint.
Mom, maybe you're feeling a little down this year, maybe you do feel Christmas isn't the same without Dad. But I can tell you, without any word of a lie, that as long as we have you, we will always have Christmas.
|My parents, probably at a New Year's Eve party. |
Look how young and adorable they are.
|Bill, Liz and me, probably around 1973. |
Doesn't everybody look kind of dopey and messed up on Christmas morning?
Or was it just us? Liz certainly looks raring to go!
|Check out the tape recorder one of us got for Christmas. At the time it was|
pretty high-tech equipment.