The holiday season has always been a magical time for me. The feel-good movies, music, lights, trees, time with loved ones, and special food, all fill me with warmth and a sense of peace.
As many of you know, Christmas has been a bit more…poignant for the last couple of years. My precious mom passed away two Thanksgivings ago, and the holidays haven’t been quite the same ever since.
A couple of days ago, I unpacked Mom’s little tree and the ornaments that she had collected over the course of a lifetime. That tree occupies a place in my heart, as well as my living room. Hanging up the ornaments, many of which have special memories attached to them, I wondered if I’ll ever again be able to make it through decorating for Christmas without crying. And then, I realized…I don’t want to make it through the holidays without crying.
The reason for my tears goes far beyond the sadness of missing my sweet mother. I cry because she was such an amazing, positive presence in my life, and I’m so entirely grateful for that. I smile through those tears remembering how, even in her advanced age, she was enchanted by Christmas lights, and even though she was sick and frail for her last November, she sang along with the Christmas carols when we watched Hallmark movies together. It was the most beautiful thing ever. In the midst of her suffering, she sang, and her eyes lit up at the happy endings of the movies.
My whole life, I always felt safe with my mom, I felt loved, profoundly and unconditionally, and I felt accepted, just the way that I am. How could I not cry at that realization? Those tears come from a welling up of love within me that will never die. She gave me that gift, and tears of appreciation seem…good. Necessary.
And now it’s my turn. I’m the mom. I get to share with my children and grandchildren, the love and joy of the holidays. I hope I never lose the wonder that Mom instilled in me, and I hope that my kids and their kids always feel the unconditional love that I felt. I hope that one day, they’ll remember me and shed tears of joy, just because I lived.
As I switched on the lights of Mom’s Christmas tree, I realized that her love will always endure, because those of us who remember her, and were inspired by her, will never forget how precious she was, and if that makes me shed a tear or two…I’m glad.
Sometimes it’s not so bad…when Christmas makes me cry.