I’ve been feeling a little “homesick” this year. Not for another place but for another time. When I was growing up, the holiday season was magic. Most of this magical feeling came from my mother, always singing and baking and decorating. There certainly wasn’t a lot of money, but I don’t remember that it ever mattered. The joy was in the anticipation, in the cookies, the stories, the songs, the making.
O is now halfway between five and six. It’s fun to see the holiday season through his eyes. This also makes me even more conscious of what he’s seeing, what he’s learning about this season of love and celebration. What will he remember? His mother yet again lamenting over her lack of a proper address book and all the time it takes to yet again address the holiday greeting cards? The stress over gifts and money and planning? Will he remember baking and crafting and singing? Warmth? Our trip up the hill to find and bring home our tree? Will he remember me exhausted and over-extended or joyful and mindful of what this is all really about, whatever that means to each of us?
Recently, I was talking to someone and broke down into tears that I didn’t even feel coming. I miss my mother, I said. My mother is still very much with us and only lives a few hours away but there are days when it feels like light-years. I wonder if that is just something that happens as we get older, or if it is something we feel more intensely once we have children of our own, this missing of our mothers. I’m suspicious that it is a rather universal experience to long to be mothered no matter what our age. For me, I long for my mother the most around the Winter holidays, the time when she was most joyful, the time when she seemed most herself. The person I was talking to that day suggested I write my mother a letter. Though I don’t think this was exactly what she had in mind, I think this public declaration will do just fine.
Thank you for the wonderful memories and the joy you found each year, no matter our circumstances.
What an incredible gift.
I love you.