My favorite photo of my parents. Early 1970’s.

My mother has been gone for about a year and a half now, but I still have moments when I think of something I have to tell her or I just have the urge to call her for a chat.  It only takes a moment before I realize that I can’t, but it doesn’t stop me from saying something to her, anyway.   In addition to being the person who lovingly raised me and my siblings and provided a warm and wonderful home for us;  she was also my friend, confidant and sounding board.  The more I travel through life, the more I realize how lucky I was to have grown up in a happy family with attentive parents and lots of extended family to spend time with, as well.  My childhood in a little New England town wasn’t extravagant, but it was oh-so memorable.  We lived within walking distance to peaceful beaches and biking distance to crystalline ponds and lakes and beautiful countryside.  We kids ranged all over on foot and on our bikes; we knew where the freshwater springs were if we became thirsty and our only requirement was to be home by suppertime.  During the dead of winter, when it everything was buried under ice and snow, we were avid skaters.  The swampy area across the street would become a a true Winter Wonderland, as the water froze and the trees and bushes were coated in silvery ice and glittering snow.  We’d skate in this fairy-like forest for hours until my mother would call us in; only then would we realize how cold and hungry we were and the hot meal awaiting us would thaw us out from the inside-out.  My mother often remarked on how much she enjoyed this time in our lives, as well.  Looking back, it seems so distant….. when did so many years go by?

Now, my conversations with my mother have to be one-sided, although I can often hear what her response would be.  My sister, my mother and I could not have been more physically different, but we all had similar speaking voices and there were many times when the three of us would say the same words at the same moment.  The three of us were also bonded by many of the same interests, including the love of puzzles and licorice!  We three unlikely relations, what with my mother being a tall strawberry-blond, my sister delicately petite and dark and me, with wild auburn hair, short, sturdy and curvy build, but we had the same zany sense of humor, were voracious readers and strong individualists.   During times of stress, we are always there to bolster one another up.  Maybe I’m slow on the up-take, but it doesn’t seem possible that one of our trio is really gone.

Moving ahead a generation, I had my daughters and their families over the a Sunday morning pancake breakfast today.  We’ve had long-standing plans for them to go through some my Christmas things and take what they wanted.  This will be my first Christmas on my own in a long time and I have been trying to decide the most painless way to get through it.  I finally determined that I needed to just start having ‘new’ Christmases.  I’d save the things I’d had before I was married and give away everything that my ex-husband and I had acquired together.  We’d had a bunch of furry animated figures that sang songs, so they were a big hit with the grandkids.  One grand-daughter turns three years old in a few weeks and she fell in love with a velvet-y soft reindeer, carrying it around like a baby and snuggling with it.  It made me feel good to see these things being enjoyed and knowing that they will be part of their holiday memories for many Christmases to come.  I also gave away assorted lights and other Christmas decorations, too.  I’ve bought a few things to take their places, but I’m happy to down-size my holidays, so I won’t be adding much to my seasonal collection.  I just want enough to deck the halls here and there, not enough to look as though I dwelt in Santa’s Village the way I used to.

My divorce will be final in a few days…. and not a moment too soon.  I’m still working toward moving on and moving past this awful chapter in my life.  Just getting this formality behind me will be a big step in the right direction.

My brother standing amongst the ice floes at low tide. Early 1970’s.