It’s here! And what a wonderful one it was… I am so happy.
By the time my mom came downstairs this morning, I had the table set, every Christmas light on, and gentle Christmas music in the background. We arranged our presents on the table:
We exchanged presents as we had breakfast. It was so lovely and peaceful. We had Grandpa’s photo right by us and it felt almost like he was there. I’m glad I made the little display for him.
From my mom I got a snail shirt, a squirrel shirt, an Amazon gift card, and a Switch otome that I really wanted, CollarxMalice. From Mwako I got some Posca markers, another otome (Code: Realize ~Future Blessings~) a board game called “Lion In My Way” and two manga volumes, both Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid related.
And then… I finally let myself open the present from Buddy, Sarah and Santa.
It was the wonderful keyboard that I’d fallen in love with. It was a frivolous, unnecessary want, that I think must have put Santa in a tough spot. I didn’t expect or deserve it, and I definitely didn’t cry when I tore open the package. Okay, maybe just a little.
Truth be told, when I took it out from behind the clock I strongly suspected what it was and my anticipation and emotion was so great that I just sat on my chair hugging it and almost not daring to rip open the paper. It was heavy, too. I’m waiting a while to actually open the box just to extend that joy, but for now here it is with the rest of my spread:
When I went upstairs to bring the presents to my studio I snapped this cute photo of Rosie and Kotoko together in the sun:
I also did a quick little check on my snails and wished them a Merry Christmas. They were just doing their snail thing:
After opening presents and finishing our breakfast, we went out for a long walk. It was really cold (for Florida) so we bundled up:
I don’t think I ever went out for a long walk with my mom in my neighborhood. When it comes to such things, she is like me, in that we will point out little bugs or leaves as we walk, that are interesting. I can’t do that with anyone else in the same way, so it was really fun.
After we got home my mom began making the shrimp salad. It’s a salad I haven’t gotten to have in AGES so I was really excited. While I waited for her to be done so I could prepare the roast chicken, I had a little snack:
All the while we had country Christmas music (and ONLY country, haha) going on all over the house. God, it was glorious.
After my mom was done with the salad and it was set to chill in the fridge, I prepared my second roast chicken ever. My mom really liked the humita empanadas I made, but this was my big test. So far, I’d had the house perfect, the porch beautiful, nothing out of place. I knew my mom was proud and impressed, and above all so happy. She kept saying so. I really wanted this to be the finishing touch, and for her to feel that I can take care of her and keep her happy. It’s really important to me.
We watched Scrooged while the chicken cooked. I made SO much smoke, the smoke alarm went off. But the chicken itself didn’t burn, just some of the grease. All was good, but there was so much smoke that our eyes were burning.
The dinner spread was simple, but lovely:
As for the chicken, while it was very slightly drier than my first, it was still great:
My mom’s salad was too… everything was delicious. I gave my mom most of the chicken to take home, since I can roast Christopher another anytime.
My mom left shortly after dinner, and Christopher arrived home less than ten minutes after she left, bringing with him several presents from Grandma!
She sent me a photo of me and Grandpa dancing together on Christopher and I’s wedding day, a beautiful silver bracelet, a Precious Moments watch that once belonged to her, two lovely Christmas lanterns to decorate (as well as an addition to the Christmas village, but that’s for both of us, along with a photo of Grandpa and Christopher to put on the fridge.) She also sent me two gift cards, and with one of them I got Café Enchanté, the last otome on my wish list. 😁
My Christmas joy was (and still is) so unparalleled, so overwhelming, that I feel a little guilty. I’m this happy because I spent Christmas alone with my mom, and the way Christmas was disjointed this year should be sad, and nothing else. But you have to understand… we all treasure the memory we have from childhood if it’s a good one –sometimes, nostalgia makes us look back fondly upon it even if a big part of it was sad, because we hold on to the small happy bits.
From the time I was nine years old and my parents separated, my mom and I endured many years of either bad company that resulted in more than one Christmas with fights and crying while I sat somewhere plugging my ears with my fingers to avoid hearing it, to being just us, alone, struggling for money in an unfinished house. But at that point of being alone, we finally had peace, so while we were bordering on poor at times, and our presents would literally be things from the dollar store, our Christmases were very happy.
After we immigrated, we spent over fifteen years of Christmases alone. All very happy Christmases except for the utterly devastating one that came four days after our beloved cat Stimpy died. But when I met Christopher and we married, those Christmases were gone forever. I could not bear to spend a Christmas apart from him. And my mom and I’s rituals are extremely different from the family’s. We never expected to experience them alone again.
For this reason, this Christmas is one we will treasure for the rest of our lives, even though we wore masks throughout, even though I could not kiss her, it still was a precious time, and if I said I would have preferred to have it any other way, I would be lying.
There’s also the fact that this year I’ve become far more aware of my mom’s age, and her fragility, her tiredness and how unhappy she is, and how precious the time I have left with her is. So this coming year, I’m going to start working towards some changes to prepare the house to have her here, because I think when her oldest cat dies and only Sweeney is left, it will be time.
My mom is starting to approach 70, slowly but surely. Were it not for her sacrifice, I would not have made it here, nor met my husband… I want to give my mom some happiness on her golden years.
This topic aside, as I sent a bunch of Christmas greetings, I reached out to a friend of Christopher and I’s, whom we have barely seen this year and had a minor disagreement with, but enough to result in hurt feelings and some distancing. To my surprise we ended up talking and somewhat patching things up. Seems he’s been quite lonesome, and I felt so glad to have sent that message, glad as he was to receive it, that the whole thing left me a little bit choked up. Really added to the magic of the day for me. I hope we can see him soon.
But anyway… I ramble on… here’s one last photo, one that my mom took of Rosie:
I hope your Christmas was happy… I hope you feel lucky, in spite of the grief this year brought. Six days from now we will leave this year behind, and it is disingenous to tell ourselves that all will be well on January 1st. I think if we are lucky, things will *start* to get noticeable better around July-August. It’s okay. We can do it, we made it this far after all.
I want to send my love and my most sincere wishes for good fortune, good health, strength, and an ability to see and appreciate whatever blessings are present at this time, to everyone reading this. Whoever you are, whether you like me, love me or hate me, or don’t know me, whether you enjoy my blog, or hate-read or cringe at it, even if you just randomly found it today on WordPress’s Reader… truly, truly whoever you are… I hope you find happiness.