So many of my childhood memories of the Christmas season are wrapped up in little Christmas tree shaped bites of heaven.
My mom loved Christmastime. Really loved it. There wasn’t a corner of our house that wasn’t touched by her immense Christmas spirit, and there wasn’t a soul that knew her that didn’t gain a little joy from her infectious, child-like love of the holidays.
Sometimes I wonder what our Christmases would be like now if she were still around. She’d spoil our kids rotten, that’s for sure. Probably slip my oldest some hot spiced wine while I wasn’t looking – just a little, with a conspiratorial wink that would say, “Let’s keep it between us.” She would have definitely passed on her mad skills with a razor blade – very useful when one needs to sneak a peek at what’s inside an expertly wrapped present. Then, of course, she’d have to teach them to re-wrap said present in a way that hid the crime. I know she would have patiently listened to long recitations of Christmas lists and done her darndest to make sure every item appeared under the tree. Their stockings would have been stuffed so full that there would be a basket under each one overflowing with extra goodies she just couldn’t fit in there.
And she would have taught her grandkids how to make cream cheese sugar cookies.
Growing up, these were a holiday staple. From Thanksgiving through New Years, we were never without her special, yummy, add-inches-to-your-waistline cookies. Decorated in festive colors, with at least one red-hot candy on each.
Sadly, she’s not here to teach them stuff like that. She’s not here to snuggle them and spoil them. Most days I’m pretty okay with that. It’s just a fact of life: we live, and we die. None of us get to choose when, or how, or why. It’s out of our control. It sucks, but I get it.
This season has already been harder for me than the past ten. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones. Maybe it’s the fact that she died at 42 – a measly ten years older than I am now. I look at my oldest child, who is nearly ten, and it’s suddenly glaringly real how quickly ten years can pass. I’m going to be 42 in the blink of an eye.
But the holidays offer something special when I miss her – the chance to bring a little of her spirit back to life. This year we have three Christmas trees shining brightly in our windows. Lights strung outside. Cloves and cinnamon simmering on the stove. Christmas music playing constantly. Loads of laughter and people in and out our front door, celebrating with us. All of these things have her fingerprints on them.
And there are, of course, sugar cookies. Cookies made by small, eager hands that never knew her, but are blessed by her just the same .