I watch the falling snow
The whirling edges
Sparkle into night
Windblown fingers grasp
The naked branches
Cavorting in the light.
Endless snowflakes fall
Like ageless dancing angels
Heeding winter’s flight
I am making shortbread
Cutting small shapes just right
Wishing you were standing near
As you do in every year
Judging the sugary cookies a delight.
Anticipation is something we experience even before our first memories are formed. This story is a revisit of happier times…to be mindful that there is meaning, wonder and even worth in the waiting.❤️
During Christmas holidays, I have loved reminiscing with my grandchildren about Christmas’s past. One story in particular involves an event that became a yearly ritual between my Dad and me.
It started out innocently, the first year I was old enough buy a gift for him with my own money. As the oldest child, I felt I had done something that reeked of specialness, of significance. That first Christmas sweater was grey. It had large buttons and a cable knit design that my mother loved to knit when she was not mothering eight children. Boxed and wrapped, I placed it under the tree in high anticipation of its appreciation. (Mom said so.)
Here I must point out that my Dad was taciturn in personality. Christmas was the one time of the year that he broke from that self-imposed formalness and actually seemed to be more jovial. He ate chocolates and played games, and joined in the fun. When someone squealed to him that there was a present for him under the tree from me, he made a huge production of it. That long, drawn out week before Christmas morning, He would pick the present up as he sat in his favorite recliner chair by the tree and shake it gently…trying to guess the contents.
Was it a violin? I giggled and shook my head, no. A wallet then…boxed to fool him? I refused to answer. He would have to wait for Christmas like the rest of us. Then disaster struck. Christmas Eve had finally arrived and Mom was brewing up a batch of spiced hot cider in the kitchen. My younger siblings and I were stringing popcorn garlands for the tree. Dad reached down, picking up the package that had become a nightly ritual and looking at me intently in the eye said. “Does it have buttons?”
My face betrayed me. Viewing my crestfallen face, he crowed triumphantly. I was tearful but turned my face away. My surprise was spoiled. Another game he had won. That is another story. He, on the other hand was quite happy with his gift that Christmas morning. For the next ten years, I bought him a Christmas sweater. I never put it under the tree until Christmas Eve.
Each time I would put it in his hands he would look me wickedly in the eye though with his Cheshire cat grin and still try to guess, “Does it have buttons?” Sometimes it had a zipper.
Let me ask you this: What’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to you? How quickly can you recall this memory? Now try this one on: What are the most hurtful words anyone’s ever said to you? What about instances where the words uttered weren’t even intentionally mean, but they still stung deeply? I suspect this list would be the longest. Words that sting have a way of lingering.
My daughter’s untimely death has caused me to remember conversations, especially in the final weeks leading up to her suicide. It is not easy, not being enough for her to keep holding on. We always accused her of being cryptic…But my last conversation was clear as a bell. It will ring forever in my ears.
“It’s never been about you Mum. Bye. I love you.”
Her last text to me until the unending silence . A last gift. A last kindness. Even in her pain she sought to soothe. That’s why I love her. That’s why I’ve always loved her. Because she loved me. It was the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.❤️
Through my window
I watch the snow fall.
I am on the qui vive as it feathers down.
Almost apologetically, like a billowing bed sheet;
Collectively covering the ground’s
Nakedness and the tree’s limbs.
The picnic table stands in lonely, frozen silhouette.
Pigeons pace and prattle.
I open the door
and step over the threshold.
A dog howls a mournful tune in the distance.
Closing the door behind me I am enveloped
in semi- darkness. The snowflakes stare back silently.
Only one street light beams.
I am clothed in my own exhaled breath.
Bleak winter has arrived, once again.
Christmas ~ It makes us feel.
We inwardly wail and gnash our teeth
Or stoically keep a stiff upper lip
We wrap our gifts
Trim the tree, rearrange the Nativity…
And in the ritual, hope
To pass along the memories
To those who listen
Perhaps our children
Paying tribute to those we miss
Playing down the agonies
Elevating the bliss
A seasonal thaw, as if walking on stones
On the winter river
Frozen in place but beauteous ever
We find ourselves transfixed in this space
We’ve set aside for lost warm embrace.
And we hold it tight
For it is all we have
This celebration of lives lived, loved and lost
Consoling ourselves that we are present
With our presence, the best present,
Not a memory erased, hoping to return
At the end of the new glittery year that awaits.