Every year my 83 year old mother declares that she has no “Christmas spirit” and “just can’t get into Christmas this year”. As we were growing up she always made a nice lunch for us, and we each got A present, and one from Santa when we were small, but Christmas was no big deal to Mum. We children generally decorated the very small tree that we had with the ornaments from the shoebox that they were stored in from year to year.
So this year, I decided that Mum was going to get some Christmas spirit. After a little pep talk that you only get out of life, what you put into it, and in its turn, Christmas, Mum agreed to cooperate. My sister and brother-in-law drove her to our house and together we wrote Christmas cards to all her friends and family. Mum’s job was to think of people she wanted to send the card to, and to choose which particular card that she wanted to send to each person. My sister and I then wrote the cards and addressed the envelope for her.
At the start there was a very loud dictate that her brothers and sisters did not want Christmas cards. She has 7 brothers and sisters, as one recently died. “They will get angry if I send them; they said they didn’t want them”. My sister and I interpreted this as being “we are too lazy to write cards and if you send me one, I will have to send you one”. They are a very close family, but in no way affectionate towards each other. I did get her to agree to send one to her youngest sister whom Mum has not seen in several years, so that was something.
Sister and I joked that we should write the siblings long letters pretending to be Mum, saying how much she loved them, and how much they all meant to her, just to give them all a head spin. We could visualise them all going into a frantic phone circle deciding how to deal with their rampant sibling! Oh no, a blatant show of affection, what will we do! Panic stations!
In the end we came up with about 15 recipients. It has to be admitted that most of her friends have now passed on, so that did shorten the list, sadly. Mum was quite docile and well behaved. She behaves for me, but she is very hard on my sister. They are too much alike to not disagree, but my sister is also the one who shoulders the daily support of Mum, and so Mum should be more appreciative. Anyway, today Mum was a very obedient girl and we did have fun chatting about the various friends and relatives as we added them to the list.
Sister’s daughter and two year old grand-daughter (both my god-daughters too) also came to visit. Once one flamingo dancer knows that there is a gathering of family, more are sure to follow! So I also got to play tea parties, and read books, and laugh at jokes that I couldn’t even understand, but it was so much fun. She made me lunch out of a small wooden owl chess piece, her tippy water cup, a bowl from the coffee table, and a coaster. It was delicious, and I should know because she made it three times for me and watched as I ate every bite each time. I may have chewed rather nosily for effect, but the chef appreciated the drama!
Daughter1, who has been coming here most days this week as her house is a renovation scene due to painters working inside and outside of their home. While we were writing cards she made a wonderful pumpkin, fetta and bean salad, which was so good, that her cousin asked for recipe instantly! We ate it with cold chicken, a tomato and cucumber salad with aioli dressing, and a loaf of French bread (no, I did not bake it!). Long glass of old fashioned lemonade completed a lovely family lunch.
For dessert we ate the cranberry brownies that I had baked yesterday in anticipation of our Yule event. Followed by large cups of tea of course!
Niece had to leave in time to collect her older children from school, and sister, mother and BIL left about an hour later. Daughter1 stayed a little longer to help me tidy. I rewarded her with two huge mangoes from the tray that I bought at the weekend, so she left well pleased! Sister was taking Mum home to put up Mum’s little tree so she is getting the full Christmas treatment this year. Whether she likes it or not!
I do hope that I don’t become twisted and bitter when I am old. May I always enjoy my life, and never stop telling the people I love that I care about them, and showing them in anyway I can. Old age doesn’t have to mean self-centred and grumpy. Bitter and twisted does not look good on anyone.
Life, Be in it!