“I’ll be home for Christmas; you can count on me” … such simple words, but where is home? – I suppose my immediate answer is where my mom and dad are. I did spend all my Christmas’s with my folks until I became a parent myself – I recall the bustle of Christmas Eve, so pleasurably and wildly chaotic with five siblings and later girlfriends and boyfriends and always so much to do, the early dusk arriving and still wrapping perfume sets, or walkie talkies and macramé plant hangers, someone calling out for tape, or shouting for their turn in the shower, or sneaking into the once-a-year-special marshmallow peanut butter squares, too sugary delicious to wait for, then curling our hair for church and marching through snow drifts to get to the car.
“Please have snow and mistletoe And presents under the tree” … And suddenly there was a transition. I was married with our first little baby and though my parent’s house was just a ten minute drive away – home had shifted. I wanted to leave the jumble of family at my parents and wake up with my tiny girl and husband to share something sweet together around our first tippy decorated tree. Since all those years ago we’ve usually managed a crazy mix of several homes, my parent’s, mine and my in-law’s -except the two years that we brought home our wee baby boys, both born weeks before the holiday. Those years we stayed put on the coast where my husband was in law school, more for the baby’s sake and mine. On each of those home came to us – our parents or siblings arriving with tiny outfits and trinkets to fill the stockings of bright new Christmas babies.
“Christmas Eve will find me, Where the love light gleams”… My four kids are grown and have almost always come home for Christmas. I’ve felt the exhilaration of them returning from university with plane loads of students, most thrilled to be away leaving independent lives, but back in parents arms at the airport you can hear the audible sigh of home. The first year that one of our four didn’t join us for the big unwrap fest and Christmas morning wife saver egg strata with o.j and champaign, all three of the females in the family hid our weepy tears. Our eldest son was gainfully employed working through the holiday season as a liftie on the slopes of Whistler resort, and the rest of us couldn’t have been more conscious of the miles and miles between him and home as we steamed the Christmas pudding, carved turkey and settled in around the table.
“I’ll be home for Christmas….” Of course, home is here now in this house where I raised my kids. I’m cooking today for Christmas Eve tomorrow. In the wee hours I searched through recipes for something new, thinking that perhaps I’d switch it up, try a fish pie or seafood casserole, but sometimes you just want the same in this life. Like the year I finally got too embarrassed of the poorly stitched oddly shaped stockings I’d made when the kids were small. I bought lovely, bright, too big felt ones – who knew that my four darlings were quite attached to my sloppy efforts from years past? I imagine they’ll be looking for the same old-same old Christmas Eve fare – cracker crumb fried oysters, rice pilaf and rich butter tarts.
It’s quiet in the house this morning. Snow is falling in the backyard, covering the urban rabbit tracks. The peace will change soon with adult kids home for the holidays, coming and going, calling out to each other. Tape will be missing again and showers coveted. But that same son, who left us for Whistler years back, had a rare chance to go travelling. We’ll try to be more grown up about it. He’s in Thailand where I imagine on the eve of the 24th in a quiet moment it’ll be odd for him, too. He’ll imagine us gathered around the tree or the table and maybe, despite his exotic location, he’ll close his eyes and for a few moments – our boy be home for Christmas, if only in his dreams…
You can read more Text Me, Love Mom tales at http://www.amazon.com/Text-Me-Love-Mom-Girls/dp/1771800712