Christmas Day arrived, as we knew it would. For once my husband, Awesome Dude and I, woke at a reasonable hour. No overexcited children running into our bedroom, leaping on top of us and jumping up and down on soft, vulnerable body parts crying out, ‘Wake up!, It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas!’ After turning to each other and whispering ’Merry Christmas’, Awesome Dude and I made our way to the kitchen to prepare a light breakfast of toast, coffee and tea. The kids, smelling food in the air, made their way downstairs and looted the gifts from under the tree.
Loaded down with toast and drinks, we entered the living room fully expecting to wade through a knee-deep sea of torn wrapping paper and discarded gift boxes. Instead all the presents had been sorted into neat little piles. The kids, Lil Diva, Sleeper Girl and Lil Awesome, were patiently waiting for us to get settled so we could open the presents together. As I sat back sipping my coffee, enjoying this unusual scene of family bonding, I occurred to me that Christmas didn’t come this year. Moreover, it would never come again.
As any mother knows, Christmas doesn’t just happen. It is a sheer force of will that decorates the tree and house, buys and wraps the gifts, prepares and serves the feast. It also, in a way that defies description, provides the essential essence of Christmas that wraps itself around you when you enter the house. A feeling that revives your spirit and makes you mighty glad that you’re alive to see in a New Year. In our family, that force came in the person of my mother-in-law, Cockney Flower.
For nearly two decades, we enjoyed this cosy feeling of love, warmth and security that we came to associate with Christmas and this lady. The high and lows of the previous 11 months seemed to melt away into perspective when Christmas came around. We could always depend on Cockney Flower to make Christmas happen. That is up until late November 2008 when our Cockney Flower lost her ten-year battle with cancer.
So you see, Christmas as we had always known it didn’t come this year. It couldn’t. What I was witnessing in our own home was the Ghost of Christmas Future. The beginning of a new type of Christmas that only we as a family could provide for ourselves. I don’t know how our Christmas will turn this year. It’s something we will have to build for ourselves. Everyone contributing something special that uniquely says ’Christmas’ to them. And, of course, it will once again be ‘Mom’ (that’s me) that will have to make it happen. I don’t mind saying I’m a little overwhelmed at the prospect. I don’t have any practical experience in ‘making Christmas’, but thanks to Cockney Flower at least I have a solid foundation from which to start. Wish me luck.
(Yes, I know Christmas is over and we are entering our second week of the New Year, but, as I will explain in a future post, I’m just coming out of Limbo and am running to catch up with the rest of the world.)