The most significant relationships are never forgotten. I am fortunate to have had Mom in my physical life for about fifty-three years and six months, including the time inside her womb. I knew her intimately for nine months longer than I knew anyone on this planet. I learned to recognize her voice. I slept to the beat of her heart. I felt her emotions.
She gave birth to me the same year she turned 36. Mom met Dad, who was in the Air Force, through mutual friends. Their first date was a USO dance. They married several months later, on Christmas Day, 1943.
I grew up listening to music from the Big Band Era and loved seeing my parents get ready to go out dancing at the Supper Club. I had gone inside the building a couple of times. There were booths and tables and a huge wooden dance floor. My favorite parts were the ambient ceiling lights. They were recessed so only the light glowed and reflected off of what appeared to this small girl to be a giant upside-down oval bathtub.
Mom made Christmas so much fun for our family. We decorated the tree a couple of weeks before Christmas, with glass bulbs of all shapes and colors that had been in the family for years, and a few bubble lights that slowly made their way into history. We used the C-7 multicolored lights on the tree. Silver tinsel strands, placed a few at a time on each branch, reflected off of the colorful lights and made the meticulous job worth all the effort.
As the days slowly progressed toward Christmas, wrapped presents magically appeared under the tree. Little by little, by the time Christmas Eve arrived, the tree was circled by various sizes and shapes of wrapped packages with hand-curled ribbon, and a tag made out in Mom’s handwriting.
We always opened our presents on Christmas Eve after dark, around 9 p.m. First, we piled into the family car and went to candlelight service. By the time we got back home, Santa had already visited! I couldn’t believe how we barely missed him each year!
On Christmas morning, Mom got up really early to prepare the turkey and make all the rest of the dinner. She did it all on her own. She didn’t have time for children under her feet in the kitchen. It was too distracting from the task of ensuring everything was ready at the same time for our late afternoon Christmas dinner.
The table was beautifully set with a white lace tablecloth, real silver utensils that tasted odd, the best china, fancy goblets for water, a beautiful green pine bough centerpiece with red ribbon and red taper candles, and all the steaming food filled in the gaps.
Mom’s deviled eggs were the best ever! Her turkey stuffing was like nobody’s. It was delicious! Her mashed potatoes and gravy were always smooth and yummy! And the relish tray! Dill and sweet pickles along with green and black olives. It didn’t get any better!
The grownups sat at the table and the children sat at a card table nearby that sported a poinsettia-flowered tablecloth. I loved being at the little table! That’s where I learned how to put black olives on each of my tiny fingers before plucking them off with my teeth, one by one.
It’s been six Christmases since Mom left earth for a new adventure. She and dad would have been married 71 years today. I celebrate Christmas a little bit differently now, but Mom’s spirit is always with me. An angel statue next to her photo near my own little Christmas tree reminds me she is in excellent company.
The end is never the end
It allows space
Into a new beginning
May your own Christmas be full of joy and peace, along with much love.
Note: the photo above is from when I first learned how to wink. Merry Christmas!
Copyright 2014 Patricia Westbrook All Rights Reserved