Thursday, December 23, 2010
Feeling thoughtful. And a little sad. It's been years since I celebrated Christmas under the same roof as my mother, but this is the first Christmas without her among the living. She loved Christmas. I mean loved Christmas. She agonized over the gifts, the food, the decorating. And loved every minute of it. It was as though a perfect and happy holiday could and should make up for any and every shortcoming and disappointment of the previous year. She believed in the magic. In the days of broadcast television when there was just one opportunity, complete with commercial interruption, to catch Charlie Brown and the Grinch, she sat down and relished every moment of those cartoons along with us kids. She made fudge and caramels and delectible tiny butter spritz cookies. She baked yulekakke, a Norwegian sweet bread with raisins that was heavenly when toasted and spread with butter. When we decorated the tree, the four of us kids took turns placing the ornaments on the branches, saving a tiny plastic Santa for last. After that, only she had the patience to drape each individual strand of tinsel in its own special spot. Tomorrow night I'll attempt to make sweet and sour spareribs just like Mom did for Christmas Eve dinner. It will be just me and my younger son at the table, but the spirit of Christmases past will be there, too. Thanks, Mom, for passing your love of this holiday on to me. For the magic. And the memories.