Decorations Down

Christmas has been cleaned up in our house. This is a little earlier than normal for me, but as you know if you are a regular with my blog, I’m over it this year. Although now it looks boring and blah. Oh well, you can’t have it both ways I guess. I really do love Christmas. I just had a hard time this year without my mom. Every year I take the decorations down and wonder what life will be like this time next year. I never imagined life would be this empty without my mom this year. Next year at this time I don’t know where we will be. Will we be living in an apartment waiting for our new house to be done? I hope not. I’m hoping it will actually be done and we will already be moved in. I’m hoping the stars align and it all actually even happens. Who really knows? We may still be right here. I labeled my boxes and bins for the movers with optimism as though they would be moved within the next few months.

I put everything back exactly the way it was before Christmas, even though I know I have to “declutter” as the realtors always say. I need to take a million pictures first. Yep, I should have done that before I decorated for Christmas. I know. That would have been way too easy. Why not put it all back first, take the pictures, then pack it up? I’m not that smart. That’s way too obvious.

My goal over the next month and a half is to go room by room and clean closets, declutter and prepare the house to sell. Luckily I already did most of this last year for a big rummage sale we had, but need to go through it again. My daughter’s stuff will be the real challenge. The plan is to put it on the market on Feb. 15. For sale by owner and try our luck for a month. Hopefully the housing market is still a sellers market this spring. Fingers crossed!

Christmas is Over

Well, Christmas is over… thank goodness. No bah humbug here, it was just a hard one for me. We ran downstairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought and my daughter was so excited, she couldn’t contain herself before tearing into them. My husband made some yummy cinnamon rolls for us to nibble on while she opened her presents. We had a fun morning watching her open every fun little gift.

My in-laws came over from 11-3 and we visited and had a late lunch. I won’t lie, I was happy when it was over. I didn’t want to celebrate this year. I miss my mom and it’s not fair that she’s not here this year. My facebook feed has been filled with memories of past Christmas’ with her. I also worried about her husband alone in Florida without her. I tried to call her 2 brothers to wish them a Merry Christmas and make sure they received the package I mailed them with pictures of the family as kids. Neither of them answered, or called me back. So much for my supportive uncles. The only blood relatives I have left.

Now I need to take down my decorations and forget about it and move on, hopeful that the new year will bring some healing for me. However, I’m sad to take down the decorations because this is our last year in our house. I love this house. I don’t really want to move, but we are driving a long distance to school and it’s too much. I know it’s for the best, but it doesn’t make it easier to leave a house I love. It sort of feels like a double loss to me.

Every year when I take down my decorations, I always wonder what life will be like next year at this time. I never imagined that life would be this way. It kind of worries me what life will be like next year. I don’t like to think that way, but I can’t help it. I pray that 2019 will bring better things for my family. I pray that 2019 will bring good things for everyone reading this.

Christmas Eve

Well, it has been a day. I haven’t been in the best mood today. My daughter was acting up a little bit and everything she did irritated me. I’m guessing most of it was just my mood. The “I-wish-I-could-skip-Christmas-and-I-wish-my-mom-was-here” mood. It’s not her fault. It’s mine.

I talked to my mom’s husband this morning to see how he was doing and to make sure he has somewhere to be tomorrow for Christmas. Thankfully some friends have invited him over. I also asked if he received the package I sent him. He hasn’t. I got on the post office website to track it and it was delivered a week ago. Some porch pirates much have taken it. Evil bastards! Well, the sons-a-bitches didn’t get anything valuable to anyone but us. The package contained a calendar with pictures of my family and pictures of my mom when she was young that I thought John might like to have. Luckily, I had made copies and didn’t send any irreplaceable originals. I really hope those assholes read the card I sent and realized that they stole memories from someone whose wife just died. Jerks! I can reorder the calendar and have already copied the pictures again, but that’s not the point. It just adds to the grief when someone steals. It didn’t help my sour mood this morning.

Tonight we went to the candlelight service at church. It was so nice. They had so much music. We have a wonderful organ with powerful pipes. The choir is fantastic! The bell choir also played and a clarinet quartet played as well. As the service began, a soloist got up and sang “O Holy Night”. Her voice was stunning. I lost it and bawled my head off. As she was singing, the entire choir came up the aisles with candles and the lights were all off and they sang with her. Yep, I was done. My husband even got choked up. The service was very moving and lots of singing. Toward the end, we sang “Angels We Have Heard on High”. It has a lot of organ music, and my grandma played the organ professionally. She loved that song. There was a point in the song about the second chorus where I suddenly heard these tinkling bells in the music. I happened to look at my grandma’s ring on my hand, and I felt like she and my mom were in that church somewhere. The bells weren’t in the first chorus. It’s like they just appeared in the music. It made me feel like my mom got her wings. Somehow it just made me feel a little bit better.

We took some family pictures when we got home. Let the kiddo open 1 present, read “The Night Before Christmas”, and now we are waiting for her to go to bed. We told her Santa won’t show up if she doesn’t go to sleep. I’m pretty sure Santa is getting tired.

Family Christmas

We had our family Christmas celebration with my husband’s side of the family last night. I had no desire to go because I’m just not in the holiday spirit this year. Yesterday morning a memory popped up on Facebook of my mom from Christmas 2016 when we all met on Captiva Island. This was the last time I saw her for Christmas. I was already having a bad morning because I had slept weird and woke up with a sore neck. When I saw that picture, I burst into tears. I told my husband to go without me. Eventually, I just pulled myself together, put my make up on and went. Although I dreaded it all the way there.

I don’t always feel entirely comfortable around that side of the family. Sometimes I feel like they don’t like me. In the past few years, we haven’t attended the party because we have been on vacation. I know for a fact my in-laws get ticked off at us for traveling. I don’t know how the others feel about it. I feel like they think we are snooty. We travel during the holiday simply because we are only able to travel during school holidays, which are Christmas or spring break, and it’s nice to get away when it’s freezing cold in the winter. With my mom in Florida, we went down there when our daughter was four and we had the BEST time. It was so fun to sit outside and open presents and go to the beach. We had no idea what we were missing! We went again the following year, then we decided to meet one year in Key Largo and once in Captiva Island. Last year we went to Maui because we renewed our wedding vows. That trip had been planned for many years. This year we planned to stay home because it’s our last year in this house, although I’d rather be anywhere but here this year.

Anyhow, I always feel weird walking in the door. Like they are all thinking, “oh, they showed up this year”. I guess I shouldn’t be so self-conscious. I don’t give a shit what they think of me. As we walked in, a couple people hugged us, a few were too busy putting out the food. No one mentioned my mom, which was a relief, so I didn’t have to cry.

About an hour later, one of Jeff’s aunt’s arrived. She came right up to me and said how sorry she was about my mom and she started crying. She’s very sensitive and she has also lost her mom. We talked for several minutes and I teared up, but I didn’t all out cry. Thank goodness. It turns out that I actually did appreciate her saying something to me about my mom. I thought I was going to dread everyone bringing it up and making me cry, but Debbie was the only one who acknowledged her. She told me how she thought my mom was always so fun and so nice. I thought it was very kind of her to talk to me about it.

Much later in the evening, I was eating dinner with my father-in-law’s wife and a cousin. The cousin was talking about someone who has dementia, which has clearly gotten to a very bad state. I had missed part of the conversation and asked who it was and she said “Barb”. I said “oh, your mom?” She replied “yes, on paper”. She is adopted, but apparently feels she has been mistreated by her mom. I’ve known April for about 11 years and have never known her to dislike her mom. I know that her mom has irritated her a little, but not to the point of the way she was talking about her last night. She was spitting venom about her mother last night – saying she was the most awful person she has ever known and not even acknowledging her as her mother. I was thoroughly disgusted. I wonder where she would be if her parents hadn’t adopted her. She had a charmed childhood. Her parents are very wealthy. Her dad passed away a number of years ago, but left the family more than enough. Her mother bought them a condo when they first got married. She may have even bought them the house they currently live in, which is quite big. As she was talking, my wheels were spinning and my eyes were watering because I can never imagine myself saying those kinds of things about my mom. THEN, my father-in-laws wife tells April how she didn’t speak to her mom for 17 years. She said “not one phone call, visit, letter, etc”. Ugh! She said how everyone else thought she was the nicest person around, but “nope, she’s not”. She did ultimately reconcile with her mother and I’m sure she’s glad she did. I won’t say I never argued with my mom, or that I didn’t even go without talking to her for a month. But never longer than a month. We ALWAYS made up immediately.

Finally, I couldn’t listen to it anymore. I told April she needs to know that her mom doesn’t know what she’s saying if she has dementia. I told her she needs to forgive her because at some point she is just going to be gone before she knows it. I was crying and I walked away. I went and buried my face in my husband’s shoulder and told him I didn’t want to be there anymore. On the way home, we talked about this and he told me that in another room that night, someone else had asked April how her mom was doing. Her response was “I hope she dies tonight”. OMG! I have lost so much respect for someone I have always really liked. That girl is going to be so sorry when that sad day comes and her mom is gone. I already feel for her about the regret she is going to live with for the rest of her life.

I did manage to have some pleasant conversation with other family members. Although, I would have been just as happy to stay home and read my book. I woke up this morning and said thank you to God for helping me make it through. I don’t have to do it again until next year. Amen!

Elf Problems

Presents are wrapped. Just in the knick of time before school lets out on Friday. Hopefully they are hidden well enough. The kid is getting more and more suspicious. Today the elf was “teaching” math to Barbies on her dry erase board and Jingles handwriting looked a little bit too much like mine. She immediately ran up from the basement and said “why does Jingles handwriting look so much like yours?” Of course, I was born on a Wednesday, but not last Wednesday. I quickly replied that Jingles can likely take on the persona of anyone. Well, this little smart ass is too big for her britches. She shot back “I’ve never seen Jingles use my handwriting or dad’s”. I asked her what she was accusing me of and told her that I was sure that Jingles is going to report her to Santa when she flies to the North Pole tonight. I also added a note to the dry erase board from Jingles (in Jingles normal, but different, handwriting) that said “I heard you this morning. You made me sad:(”

Having a child who still believes in Santa is exhausting. Especially at her age. For one, she’s way too smart. She’s much smarter than I was at 10. I don’t remember that far back, but I’m pretty sure she is. Either that or my mom wasn’t as good as hiding it and coming up with good fibs. As I was wrapping presents, I have to write all the tags in my special “Santa” font that is very swirly and fancy. I can’t slip and make them any different because I’m sure she analyzes each one. It’s exhausting! I also have to sort out which presents are from us and which ones are from Santa so everyone gets appropriate credit. We’re giving her the best ones this year though. She wants to be an astronomer, so we got her a telescope. She’s going to freak. No WAY is the big man getting credit for that! I also have separate wrapping paper for Santa presents because she can’t think that Santa sits here and wraps presents. How could he possibly have time to do that?! So I hide the Santa paper in a separate spot from all the other paper. Ugh! It will be so much easier when she knows the real deal. Although then I’m sure she will accuse us of lying to her all these years!

Oh well, I much prefer it this way. It’s a lot of work and I hold my breath every night when I move that stupid elf that she doesn’t hear me or happen to come downstairs when I’m moving it. But, I so much want to preserve her innocence. That year when you’re a kid and you finally learn the truth is a real letdown.

Christmas Cookies

We made Christmas cookies today so we could put together tins of cookies for my daughter’s teachers for their gift. She has 3 teachers this year and I have no idea what to get them. The two women are pretty easy, but she has one male teacher. She’s never had a male teacher before and I haven’t a clue what to get him. I figured everyone likes cookies. We made 3 cookies and a pan of fudge. She had swim lessons this morning and didn’t want me to start without her because she wanted to help. I use the term “help” very loosely. I waited, but only because I was nearly finished with a really good book. Ha ha!

By the time she got home from swim, it was nearly noon. Then she had to take a shower, because she felt “disgusting”. Good grief. I’m starting without you. I mixed one of the cookie batters because it had to go in the refrigerator for a couple hours. She was still in the shower, so I folded the laundry. Then I had some lunch. She finally came downstairs. Then she had to call her bestie. OK, I’m starting the next batch. Well, you can see how my day went with her “helping”. Usually she wants to at least put some of the ingredients into the mixing bowl, but today she pretty much just sat on the floor and watched me. Her idea of helping was just helping eat them. Then she was too full for dinner. Big surprise.

She did help me put them in the tins for the teachers though. And she did the massive pile of dishes. I REALLY appreciated that because my back is killing me. I hope the teachers like them. And we have plenty of leftovers.

What Happened to Christmas Spirit?

What has happened to Christmas spirit? Or should I say holiday spirit, need I unnecessarily offend anyone? Geez, that’s the whole problem with this world. Everyone is so easily offended these days. It’s like walking on eggshells everywhere. Now someone got offended by some Christmas song from 80 years ago. I don’t even remember which one it was, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” or something. I’m not offended, so I don’t remember. No one is offended by “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or “I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus”. Those will be next, just wait.

Here’s what I am offended by… I’m tired of sending out 80 Christmas cards every year and not getting back jack shit. It’s Dec. 14 and I’ve gotten about 10 cards. Give me a break! I know people are busy, but there are only 10 mailing days left before the big day, so if they haven’t mailed them yet, they better get on the ball. Last year, we received about half of what we normally receive and I was disappointed. This year, with the passing of my mom, I truly thought we would get a few more. I guess my mailing list will be a lot shorter next year.

I’m also offended by the people who seem so supportive (on Facebook) when my mom passed away as though they would do anything for me. Where exactly are those people? Not one single person has come by, called, or done anything more than send a card. The hurt doesn’t go away after a month, or two, probably not even after six I suspect. Especially not at this time of year. I had to cancel lunch with a friend because my daughter was home sick from school that day, but I truly hope we can reschedule after the holidays.

I’m also ticked off at a friend who I asked to make a gift for me to give to a friend who has cancer. I asked her a month ago to make this for me. I’ve been wanting to get it in the mail. She keeps putting me off and says she’ll get it done tomorrow, then the next day, then the next day. It never got done. Last night I finally said forget it. At this point, the recipient won’t get it by Christmas. I asked on Nov. 13 and it took a MONTH to get around to it! It’s an hour worth of work. I wasn’t asking her to build me the Taj Mahal. Now I don’t have a gift for my friend. Grrrr.

I am really trying to stay in the holiday spirit for my daughter. I’m hiding the elf. We are baking cookies this weekend. I bought the presents. We did St. Nick. All the pieces are there, except my heart’s not in it. My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said “my mom”. I keep willing her into my dreams. I keep wishing she will come back. I keep making deals with God to bring her back to me. I’ll be a better daughter. I’ll go visit her more. The closer we get to Christmas, the harder it gets.

I’m just looking forward to this year being over. Hoping for a refresh with a new year.