Today we celebrated Christmas Eve at my father in laws home, for the first Christmas without my mother in law. It was a day that we know that she would have enjoyed, with the family gathered around the kitchen making pizza, loading them up with favorite toppings, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. We had such a great time. One could tell that love was abundant in that kitchen today, a day that I’m most certain she was there for.
As the day went on, we started with our traditional stockings, enjoying the goodies we found, from candy and crackers, to coffee and seed (for the birds). The stockings are a tradition that mom loved to fill, with favorite items that we each loved and enjoyed. As we finished the stockings we selected two elves, our daughter Holly and our nephew Zach.
Our elves were both vibrant and willing to work hard. They climbed behind the tree, and dug underneath to be sure all the little gifts were found and given to the proper recipient. They delivered them in the traditional way, which mom always enjoyed; making sure everyone had a gift before moving on for more. We enjoyed each opening, as each special present was received, knowing the thought and love that went into each gift.
There were moments of tears when mom was remembered, as there were gifts made with fabric from her stash, a memory snow globe to carry a picture of one’s grandmother. Then the ultimate gift given by the grandchildren, to their grandfather, was a love story album of photos and more. It started with the family tree, showing that dad and mom (grandpa and grandma) at the root of our firm family foundation. Traveling up the roots we see their children, David and Sheila next to their spouses. On up the tree we saw all the grandchildren. As we turned the pages, we read stories of how each couple met, the memories shared in the written words of each couple.
The album was a gift to be passed down from generation to generation, yet for now it provided their grandfather the most enjoyable moment of remembering back when he fell in love with his lovely bride, when they brought their children into this world, then watched them each marry. Included in this album was the love that blossomed with grandchildren who brought joy their lives. The memory book is meant to be carried forth, adding more memorable moments with each new marriage with future great-grandchildren.
Today was special to each of us there. When we left we reflected how blessed we each were. The day went so smoothly, lasting throughout the day. This was a dream of mom’s to see Christmas not be short lived with gifts opening too fast for her to enjoy the expression of each of us as we opened our gifts. Today she got to enjoy each gift, watch with love, knowing that what she passed on to each of us was a legacy of love.
We all miss you mom, as I write with tears in my eyes. I know you are feeling better than you have in a long time, which warms each of our hearts. Your love still carries us throughout our days, through the lives we live and the love we have for each other.
May you who read this treasure those who invest in your heart. May it be with an abundance of love that cannot be measured. Merry Christmas.