I’ll reflect on the new year soon, but I wanted to start it off with practicing a bit of gratitude (the scientists say it is good for your health).
This Christmas, my mom wasn’t able to give gifts in her usual fashion. She loved to set up “Santa’s Workshop” each year, wrapping parcels for many people in “secret,” and preparing an overflowing stocking for each family member. On Christmas morning, we would survey these stockings while a “Wife Saver” dish, prepped by Mom the night before, cooked in the oven (highly recommend). Then, we would slowly make our way through the MANY small stocking stuffers, as well as the smaller number of marquee items. We would usually wear new pyjamas and watch dogs tear up tissue paper from the piles forming on the floor. Glitter would abound! Then, recycling. Soon after, dinner prep would begin, followed by a very early meal and then dessert with party crackers and Scratch n’ Win tickets.
There is more I want to say on how those memories sit in my mind these days. However, I have been thinking about how, even without being there physically, my mom still gave me (and many of us) special gifts this Christmas.
The gifts from Mom I have been mentally unwrapping:
- A lot of time. I was fortunate to be able to spend more time with my mom and family this year than I typically would. It was not always the most pleasant of times, but I will treasure it forever.
- A new appreciation for Christmas and the multitude of efforts that have gone into making it the time of year I know. And, a desire to do carry on many of these efforts myself. (Please take some time to acknowledge the people in your life who make occasions special for those around them through food, organizing, purchasing, and more.)
- Relatedly, a new appreciation for my mom, and some of the values that guided her and how much WORK she did to be in alignment with them – especially in making the Christmas season and day spirited.
- The most beautiful clarity around my friendships and family. They are so special.
- I’m undecided on where I land with regard to my mom being fiercely private about her condition for so long. However, I believe she truly wanted to live and that she fought for this: I’m grateful for that.
- Recognition that I prize simple moments in the day because my mom likes them. A sunset, a new clothing item, or a picture of me and Josh when we collect each other at the airport. I know I am not the only one that has counted on my mom to be interested in whatever small event took place in your day – she could always be relied upon to throw a heart or Bitmoji your way if you shared it with her.
- A somehow more special fondness for Starbucks.
- Sense of purpose – for what, I’m not completely sure.
- Knowledge that I can make a decent-enough wife saver casserole. Need to work on large-scale meal management skills, but friends and family help with that.
- A mom to sorely miss.
- So much more, including those I know I can’t open until a later date because those life moments when they will become relevant haven’t happened yet.
Thank you, Mom. Merry Christmas, and a thoughtful new year. xoxo
(I encourage you to consider giving the gift of your time or other resources to a cause close to you this year. I’m focused on liver health, but there are so many people fighting battles we may not see or who simply need support.)