I’m just about done with whatever preparations I’m going to make for Christmas and I’m ready to let the celebrations commence. If you didn’t get a card from me by now, chances are you aren’t going to, especially since I sent out exactly one. Sorry.
You may have also noticed I didn’t send any homemade goodies. Don’t feel bad. I didn’t bake anything because I have a serious sugar addiction. I am already fighting off the dreaded holiday 5 pound gain and falling into a sugar-induced coma each night from all the goodies that appear at my office and call out to me with their siren song, “Eat me! It’s the holidays…it’s ok. Eat me!” In a good way. I can’t have that stuff in the house. Sorry.
My husband, Bill, went up to Chicago to have some melanoma spots taken off his back yesterday. The doctor said it was very early stages, so no worries. Except of course it is worrisome. Melanoma is real cancer, not just old sunburn spots. And he had a pretty big, pretty serious melanoma spot removed from his arm almost 9 years ago.
You know how doctors say “you’ll feel a little pinch” when they’re about to hack off a major body part? That’s what they told him, but after 2 hours of digging around, when the local wore off he said it felt like somebody shot him in the back. They gave him a couple Tylenol.
He’s a trooper. Despite the pain he hung around the city all day so he could pick up our youngest, Gwen, from the airport in the evening.
Gwen is home from California and we had a nice catch-up chat late last night. I left her my car today and she’ll come fetch me so we can have lunch.
Liz will be coming home tonight from Iowa. I am so happy and thankful that we will have both of our little chickees home under our roof.
We are all going to dinner tonight with a family who are dear friends. Then, tomorrow, Bill’s sister is coming from Indianapolis, and our niece and her family are in from New York. We’ll have dinner Friday night with Bill’s family, and how wonderful it will be when we are together.
Saturday we leave for Michigan. I haven’t missed a Christmas at home in 58 years. I know. Can’t wait to see most of my dear family. We’ll miss those who can’t be there, especially my dad.
My dad died a couple of months ago. This will be our first Christmas without him. The in-town sibs have been dealing with the everyday loss since then, my mom most of all. But I’ve been able to push the thought to the back of my brain. When I talk to Mom, I can fool myself; Dad just can’t come to the phone right now because he’s engrossed in a fascinating PBS special in his den. Being home for the first time since the funeral, there will be no getting around this new reality.
I was in the bathroom today and looked up at the mirror, casually, and discovered I had smudged mascara all under one eye, like a 6-year-old playing with mommy’s makeup.
It reminded me of my Grandma Corrigan. She was always dressed to the nines, as the expression goes, with full makeup, nice dresses (I never saw her in pants, not once my whole life) and frilly, frosty hats, usually pink. The waitresses at the Big Boy, her favorite restaurant near her apartment when she moved up to our town from Detroit in her later years, used to call her The Pink Lady.
She never relaxed her standards. As her eyesight started to go, she couldn’t see to apply makeup and she would have drifts of Coty face powder in Ivory Beige caking around her nose. She didn’t know it. The thought of that vulnerability makes me cry.
My mother’s favorite restaurant is now the Big Boy; it’s the one on the opposite side of town from her mother’s spot. She sails in with her walker, but she doesn’t wear dresses or frilly hats. Her makeup still looks good, foundation but no powder, and she has never worn mascara. She doesn’t have to worry about it smudging all under her eye like her daughter does.
What is it about this time of year that makes me so happy and yet, so sad?
One of the best things about Christmas is the music. I do not mean Michael Jackson screeching “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.” I grew up with the Jackson 5 and I love them. But if I have to hear that song one more time, blaring every time I get in the car since most of the local radio stations who usually play classic rock abandoned that beloved format a month ago in favor of sloppy, self-indulgent mega-trilled covers of beloved Christmas classics done by modern singers. OK, Mariah Carey, you’ve got a hell of a vocal range. I get that. But do you have to land on every mother-lovin’ note in the scale for every mother-lovin’ note in the song? Sing “Silent Night” like it was written, I BEG you!
I am talking about the music of Bing Crosby, Eartha Kitt singing “Santa Baby”, and especially “Sleigh Ride.” My dad has a green 33 record (kiddies, ask your parents what those are) of the Boston Pops playing Christmas songs. When that record went on the record player and we heard those jingly bells and the whip crack at the end, it meant it was really Christmas time. I mean he HAD a green record. Damn. This is going to be hard.
Anyway, I am wallowing in the glorious sounds which man has been inspired to craft to express his joy at the Savior’s birth.
I’ll leave you with John Rutter’s arrangement of “What Sweeter Music” for the King’s College Cambridge Singers. It moves me to tears.
Hope this is a blessed, happy Christmas for all!