[Mom and the grand-kids last Christmas.]
I am working at home today, Christmas Eve. I went to the office yesterday. It appears the new policy (this is the first year we cannot carry over vacation time) had come home to roost. Everyone is gone. After a brief flurry of activity in early morning, most work ground to a halt around noon. By the time I left at 4:30 the place was a vast wasteland populated only by a few colleagues who had planned ahead and used their vacation time for vacations earlier in the year.
In addition to checking email and wrapping up a few loose ends for work, I've cleaned the cat litter boxes and even stopped to wrap a few presents. A short shopping trip awaits John-John and me – whenever he wakes up. After that it’s time to prepare food, gather the presents, and head over to Uncle Paul’s for the first motherless Christmas.
The first motherless Christmas is not easy. After my father died, we still had Mom who was the driving force of holiday traditions. That first Christmas without Dad was sad, but we were together at Mom’s apartment, she was healthy, the kids were young, so Christmas was exciting. This time will be different. I’m not sure how but I know it will be different. That scares me and colors my mood.
Christmas cards arrive daily with touching messages about my mother. Those are very helpful, but bittersweet. I nervously open certain cards. Sometimes I delay opening the mail until I know I’ll have time to appropriately process the messages in the cards. It works best that way.
So, where is this going? It’s an explanation or an apology of sorts. Because Christmas has been harder this year, I haven’t sent the usual Christmas card and letter yet. Mom would NOT approve, but that’s the way it will be. The card will come, but I’m not sure I’ll send the letter. Many drafts, but nothing seems right.
Hmm . . . perhaps I’ll just print this out, fold it up, and stuff it in the envelopes with the card.