Today would have been your 80th birthday. I was wondering what I would say to you if you could be here for just one more birthday, one more Mother’s Day. Then I remembered a dream I had after you passed. I was at a family gathering looking for you. Disappointed I couldn’t find you I sat down at a table and when I looked up you were sitting right across from me. You looked so young and so healthy, you smiled and we got up and embraced. As we hugged I actually felt your hair brush gently against my cheek and it suddenly seemed I was no longer just dreaming, this was an opportunity. I quietly said, “You were a good mom” and I woke with tears in my eyes. I know what I would say to you now if you could somehow magically appear like that for just a few moments today. I would give you a big hug, and then, as I felt your hair brush gently against my cheek I would simply whisper in your ear, “You’re a good mom. Happy birthday, happy Mother’s Day.”
Lucky me and Mr. bookbabie got iPhones just before the holidays, kind of a pre-Christmas gift to ourselves. We’ve been enjoying the ease of texting with them and all the apps, I actually rarely use mine for phone calls! I recently joined Instagram, a free photo sharing application that is basically Twitter for pictures. I’m having a lot of fun with it, taking iPhone photos, editing them with various apps, and then sharing them on the public feed. It gives you something to do with your cell phone photos, aside from forcing your friends to look at them of course, and it’s kind of like making miniature art (or so I tell myself to rationalize the time I spend playing with it!). Hope you all survived the hubbub of the holidays, we still have a naked tree in our family room, otherwise I’ve got most of Christmas put away and when I’m not on Instagram I’m on the computer looking for someplace warm and sunny to escape to:)
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. ~Henry David Thoreau
Those are my husband’s slippered feet, relaxing as he sits back and admires the Christmas tree. We put it up last weekend. Mrs. Scrooge (that would be moi) questioned whether we should bother, we usually have it up at the beginning of December so we can enjoy it all month long. But sick mom’s, bad backs, and other stresses slowed down the holiday fa la la-ing around here, and while I was ready to make do with the fireplace and mantle adornments alone, Doug wanted (actually seemed to need) the tree up. So up it went. While the movie, “Elf”, played in the background, we hung the ornaments one by one, remembering the significance of each as we filled the empty branches of the tree with keepsakes of our 32 years together.
There was our son’s “Baby’s 1st Christmas” satin ball, the tiny red sleigh our daughter made in 2nd grade with her school photo glued in the center, the dancing Kokopelli from a family trip to Sedona, the yellow cab from our New York City adventure, the hand crocheted bird’s nest Doug’s grandmother made us, the little wooden nutcrackers we bought when we were first married and couldn’t afford the beautiful Christopher Radco glass ornaments we have since collected. I must admit, I’m glad we put the tree up. There’s something very relaxing about the evenings now, sitting in the family room with Doug, wrapped in the sparkling glow of the Christmas tree lights.
At the end of my book, one of the characters is reflecting on his life, on the fear and the grief that has literally driven him deep into the woods. He comes to the realization that what he’s feeling is okay, that he hasn’t been indelibly damaged by loss, that “the monster he had been running from wasn’t really a monster after all. It was simply that place in the heart that holds the measure of your history, the joy and the grief, the laughter and the tears, the magic and the wonder; all the ingredients that add up to the story of a life well lived.” The holidays can be difficult. Too much running, too much spending, too much forced holiday cheer when really all we want from Santa sometimes is a little peace and quiet, or better yet, a little peace of mind. To me, a Christmas tree is kind of like that place in the heart, the ornaments we choose and those given to us are delicate echoes of the joys and the losses that make up our stories. So yes, it was worth the trouble, putting up the tree and filling it with our memories. Whether it’s for one week or four weeks or one hundred weeks, taking the time to honor the wonder and magic of Christmas, of our lives, is a worthy and lovely way to spend an afternoon. Merry Christmas Mr. Day, and to all my friends and family near and far whether or not you celebrate Christmas, my wish for you is a happy, healthy, and wonder filled 2012.
We had a lovely Christmas morning watching our new granddaughter open gifts. She was much more interested in the paper and tags than in what was in the boxes, although she did like her toy telephone, girly girl that she is! Brooklyn is such a happy baby and has brought a new sense of happiness and joy to our family this holiday season. Of course, I couldn’t help but think of my mom as I held the great-granddaughter she never got to meet in my arms beside the tree on Christmas morning, it seems we miss those who have crossed over that much more during the holidays. Mr. bookbabie surprised me with a Kindle reader this Christmas and I already have a few books on it. I don’t know that all my reading will be on e-books now, but I must admit that being able to make the font of the books larger is a big advantage for my terribly farsighted old eyes. Hope you all got everything your little hearts desired this Christmas!
What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. ~Pericles
Many years ago, my husband and I started a tradition at the small company we own. We give the employees (and ourselves!) a Christopher Radko ornament for Christmas. We all have a nice collection of them now and I decided to take photos of some of them today and do a post for the You Capture blog meme. The theme this week was “Holiday Decor”. I used my little Canon G9, hand-held with no flash, and then filtered the images with Topaz Labs Adjust and Totally Rad Dirty Pictures, two plug-ins for Photoshop. It was a lot of fun just “playing” with these photos, especially since so much of my photography is for Getty and iStock, who have pretty strict criteria for what you can upload. Happy holidays everyone, hope you had a fun, peace filled weekend!
Christmas is sights, especially the sights of Christmas reflected in the eyes of a child.~William Saroyan
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These are a couple of new Christmas photos I did for iStock and Getty. Still doing some after Thanksgiving chores while I start my holiday shopping. We already have baby Brooklyn’s gifts, it was so much fun to shop for a little one again and we can’t wait to celebrate her 1st Christmas!
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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exists, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. ~Charles Dana