It’s the most wonderful time of the year as temperatures fall but spirits soar. The air is filled with giving and open hearts, alive within us. Christmas is Mom’s favorite time of the year. She begins decorating as early as September (to much criticism), but I know in her heart she wishes everything could be decorated all year round. When we lived in Reno, I saw the joy in her eyes at the experience of her first White Christmas. (She didn’t have to shovel snow, hence the joy.) It was our first Christmas without our dog, Merlot. And that was sad enough. But somehow, my mom managed to make Christmas still feel whole, feel complete. Maybe the glistening snow helped, or maybe that’s just who she is. She has a gift in this way: to take something with a missing piece and make it all united once more.
Since losing her husband, Mom has gone on with her life in a way that would make Daddy so dang proud. Most of all, she hasn’t lost that glimmer of Christmas hope. To her, Christmas is everything, it is her world. Her entire year is spent in preparation of early sunsets and late sunrises, chilly weather, Advent, and continuous Hallmark movies and Christmas carols. The other day, I was looking at Daddy’s Twitter feed. Amidst his sickness last Christmas, when my parents had to move into a small, uncomfortable apartment at last minute’s notice, he tweeted his pride. His pride in Mom for making a home out of a place none of us wanted to be. Showcasing pictures of her famous decorating, I remember being so excited when I saw that tweet. It was a reminder that nothing takes down her spirit. I can’t imagine how hard that must be for her, but she makes it look like that joy comes naturally.
Santa, what is Christmas like in heaven? Will Daddy be sad he isn’t with us, for the first time? Does he miss the taste of dark meat from the turkey or Uncle Dave’s pumpkin squares? Santa, all I want for Christmas this year is for you to make a stop in heaven. Skip our home, and deliver to heaven instead. Bring Daddy the remote control helicopter he always wanted but never got. Gather all the elves to sculpt him a golden heart necklace just like mine, but with my thumbprint instead of his. And Santa, while you’re there, can you tell him I love him and I miss him?
Mom does the most amazing job about showing you to everyone she meets. She is the living, breathing epitome of the true Santa Claus. I know Daddy is smiling upon her with a warm embrace, but for Christmas this year, can you help her to feel that? I don’t know how she does it all, and if I were her, I don’t think I could. She is my role model, my hero, and my inspiration. Because I have her, I think I’ll get through Christmas without Daddy while shedding very few tears.
Christmas in heaven this year will be the best one the angels and saints have ever experienced. Why? Because they are celebrating it with the most humble, giving, and caring man I have ever known. My dad. I hope those angels know how lucky they are to have him. As for Christmas on earth, well, I think we will be okay. Can you let Daddy know that, too?
Merry Christmas to all! Take this time to love the people in your life. Love fully. Don’t hold back. Have courage. Live strong. Act with love.
Here are some pictures from Christmas 2015 in Reno, Nevada. My dad was healthy as can be at this time, and I will always remember this Christmas as being the best for that reason.
xoxo, keep believing, my friends.