Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Writers Workshop Wednesday #1- Learning what its really about

I am going for teachers pet this week with Mama Kat. I have so many holiday memories, I am sharing three. So there! And btw...the next two aren't very long and will make you laugh. I promise!
And sorry about the Christmas music, but it seems appropriate. Plus, who doesn't love a NKOTB version of Little Drummer Boy?

I am 31, and I get as excited as a little kid for Christmas. I love the hustle and bustle of the crowds, I love to bake cookies while listening to holiday music playing in the background. I love to make a mug of hot cocoa and wrap presents and picture the look and the persons face when they open it up. I really think its the most wonderful time of the year.
And while I love it, it always brings it share of pain. My mom passed on December 1st, 1992 and she was the biggest lover of the holiday season ever. She made the time of year feel magical with her glow and excitement. The house was always decorated beautifully, and you couldn't help but smile when you walked in. She once stated that she wanted to hold on til after Thanksgiving so we wouldn't have to lose her at Thanksgiving. I think she really wanted to hold on and make it til Christmas, and I am sure that made letting go a little harder for her. The fact of the matter was, she couldn't hold on that long. Deep down she knew that it wasn't really up to her and holding on til Christmas wasn't an option. Even though she wanted it, she wouldn't be able to spend one more Christmas with us.

I go through quite a roller coaster of emotions during that time of year because of it, and often I bury myself in the joy to get through the pain. Make no mistake, my joy isn't fake, it just seems that I make sure I look at the glass half full over and over again during the holidays. I always loved them and I know more than anything that the last thing my mom would want me to feel at the holidays was sadness.

Back in 2003, Jim and I were married for a year and a half. We had bought a house, were working decent jobs, but, were by no means well off. We decided to forgo exchanging gifts to save money and have a "toned down" holiday season. I left the decorations in the attic and we didn't even buy a tree. It was a well intended plan but....
I backed out. In my heart I did anyway.
I was sad, so sad. I did my best to hide it, because it wasn't as if Jim had coerced me into the plan. I had agreed. The problem was, it creeped into other areas. I wasn't as excited to go out shopping and the Christmas music never really played. I spent more time thinking about the pain of that time of year, and it hurt. Looking back, it was silly. I should have taken out some of the decorations, baked the traditional cookies, etc. Toning it down for one year shouldn't have meant stopping it all together. Hindsight, of course is always 20/20.
You may be wondering where this is going and why I am depressing you with "The Year the Andersons Skipped Christmas", but here is why Christmas of 2003 has special memories for me:

1 I woke up Christmas morning, Jim looked over at me and suggested we head downstairs for coffee before getting dressed and heading to his Dads for breakfast.
I walk downstairs, and there it is. A tree. Not a huge tree, but the cutest little table top tree with tiny lights and a star crafted from foil covered cardboard, that only a guy could make. A gift sat under the tree - a set of crafting scissors for my card making. And over the mantle was my stocking. Filled with a pack of M&Ms and a Ferrero Rocher.
It was so sweet and meant the world to me. It didn't cost a lot, but to me was worth more than any other gift he had ever given me. He knew I was sad and rather than just letting it pass, he and his buddy went to Michael's Arts and Crafts and shopped so that I could have the Christmas joy I love.

2 I looked back and realized for my Mom, it was never about the things. Christmas never meant gifts or material things to her. It didn't even depend on the music playing in the background. Sure, those things were fun and she liked them, but they were, in some ways, a means to an end. What it was really about was the time with each other, the joy and the memories. Maybe that is why she held on as long as she could, and then decided it was ok to trust in what was planned for her and let go. She didn't want the memories to be tarnished by the pain. And for what its worth, they never were.

I learned a lot that year, from two of the most important people in my life

12 comments:

Jennifer P. said...

I am so proud of you for getting these memories out of your head and onto "paper". What an inspiration your mom sounded to be---and what a sweet gesture by your husband!

Good work Carrie :) (and Xmas music to boot!)

Lace said...

This was a great story. Made me cry! I feel your pain, as I lost my grandfather around Christmastime as well. Christmas isn't the same without pawpaw coming through the door in his flannel jacket, smelling of old spice. :) I do get a big grin everytime I smell that scent during the Holidays though, and I know it's him...spreading his joy. I hope the little sweet things remind you of your Mom and make you smile, as I know the thought of that foil table top tree did!

Los said...

I love Christmas too ... I love giving gifts, and of course receiving gifts ...

I know how you feel about death and tragedy around a holiday. I lost my older brother on July 4, 1993 - Independence day has a different meaning for me now, unfortunately.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

lovely post!

Jenni said...

I love this story. I try to make lots of memories with my kiddos because despite growing up poor and not really having Christmas a couples years, I have very fond memories of Christmas and family togetherness.

Brandy said...

This was such a sweet story thank you for sharing it. I am glad you have happy memories of your mom.

BTW - I love the Christmas music and I am still a NKOTB fan after all these years but shhhh dont tell anyone ... lol.

Weeksie50 said...

What a lovely post..TFS.

I still love NKOTB! I can't wait to attend another one of their concerts.. and I hope they do a lot of old school stuff..

scargosun said...

Oh! I cheered in my head like a girl watching a Lifetime movie when you wrote about coming down to see the tree and the stocking. That is so wonderful!

Mama's Losin' It said...

Oh this is so sweet. I bet the greatest joy for your mom would be to see you finding joy in the holidays without her. That would be so hard...

TattooedMinivanMom said...

What a great husband you have.

Tammy (Mom to this crazy bunch) said...

What a beautiful and moving story. I loved it.

ckrae said...

Your mom really did love the holidays. She always made it special for you and your brother. Even when you came up north for Christmas. She always made sure Santa knew where you were and he always made it to Papa and Grandmas house.

I am loving this blog thing. Please keep it up. Love you lots!!!!!!!!!