Merry Christmas to my blog visitors! This year, our Christmas is quite different. For the past 15 years, we have devoted Christmas to taking care of my Spouse’s mother. Since she passed away in May, this year sets a different tone for the holiday. What are we doing?
First of all, we are not traveling.
Between 2003, the year that Spouse’s father died and 2014, Spouse and I would drive to Pittsburgh the weekend before Christmas, pick up his mother, and bring her to our house for a week or two.
Then for the past four years, Spouse and I would drive to Pittsburgh to stay during Christmas week with his mother since her health had declined to the point of making it impossible to pick her up and bring her to our house for the holiday. Christmases in her dark, depressing house were… well, not much joy. We did the best we could.
When she was able to be at our house for Christmas, mostly, she ate. And ate. And ate. There were times when pots and pans in my kitchen would never cool.
We made homemade pasta, cookies, breads, and other treats. When mother-in-law was healthy, Spouse would take her out shopping, to church, and to see sights.
This year since M-I-L is gone, I tried hard to distract Spouse from feeling badly and missing his mother. My twin brother is visiting, so his visit provides a lot of distraction for Spouse since he loves to talk with him about all sorts of things.
Last night (Christmas Eve), I invited a few senior pals over to join my brother, his wife, and Spouse for la festa di sette pesci (Feast of the Seven Fishes), a traditional Italian meal served on Christmas Eve.
That meal is a LOT of work to prepare, but brother and I had a lot of fun cooking together. It’s been a long long time since we’ve done that.
Before diving into the meal, brother said a heartfelt prayer, remembering M-I-L, which brought a few tears to Spouse’s eyes.
Whilst enjoying our meal, the doorbell rang and there was commotion on the lawn — 17 senior pals came over to sing Christmas carols. We sang, laughed, and invited them in to share treats that they brought. Great timing — we had finished the main meal and it was time for dessert!
I love my community and being a part of what makes it my home. I know Spouse appreciates that, also.
Brother was not surprised in the least. He knows how connected I am in this vibrant community where I have served, built our house, and lived my entire life.
Whatever you do, whatever you believe (or not) — share in the peace and joy that the holiday season brings. Have faith and believe as I do. Good things happen when there are good people in your life.
As Clarence said to George in It’s a Wonderful Life, “No man is a failure who has friends.”
Life is short: cherish family, friends, and community.