It’s funny how memories can lay dormant for long periods of time and then bubble to the surface when triggered by a certain sight, sound, or smell. I was looking out onto the sunporch and the beautiful winter view of the city when suddenly I was transported to Christmas 2009, what would unknowingly be our last Christmas with Dan’s mom, ‘GiGi’ (Georgene). She would be gone suddenly just a few weeks later.
We settled both of our mothers into the wicker chairs on the sunporch so that they could enjoy the view and visit while we finished up preparing our feast. The fireplaces were burning, the lights were all aglow, and Christmas music was playing. I remember feeling so fortunate to have our moms with us to celebrate the holiday, and I poured them each a glass of egg nog to make things even more festive.
As I brought the glasses out to them, I looked at the two silver heads turned to watch a Christmas miracle; snow had begun to fall- the only time we’ve ever had snow in Birmingham on Christmas for as long as I’ve lived here, before or since. It was the most beautiful thing to see these two dear women, GiGi at ninety-two and my mom at eighty-seven, gazing out at the magic of the falling snow. I so wish that I’d taken a photo of the scene, but no matter; the image is burned into my memory.
I am grateful for the memories like this that the holidays give to me, even when they make my heart ache and bring tears of love and remembrance. They are all part of the patchwork of experiences that chronicle our lives and our love. They remind me that time is fleeting, that I should never take these special times for granted- or take my loved ones for granted, either. The gifts of Christmas aren’t always wrapped in fancy ribbons and bows, but sometimes are just felt in the heart. Those are the most special gifts of all.