Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Christmas 2010

There's nothing anyone could have said, although many tried, that could have prepared me for the heart-ache that would arrive with the Christmas season.  And it turns out that there was no project big enough and no to-do list long enough to stop my mind from constantly being turned to my mom. 

She loved Christmas.  And I loved the way she did Christmas.  Everything she did defines my version of the way Christmas should be done.   From homemade toffee and salami to homemade gifts and decorations--everything she did was just as it should be.

She would call me at least 3 times a day to discuss gifts for everyone, or just to tell me what she'd bought for the girls because she couldn't stand keeping it a secret.  Nothing made me happier than watching the extremely practical, frugal, budget-bound mother I knew growing up slowly turn into the buy-random-lavish-overpriced-unneccesities-just-because-I-can mom.

She would have loved to see all the work that my siblings and I did to raise money for our sister.  My mom worried about Cynthia constantly, and would call me all the time with ideas or questions about how we could help her.  She would have been "tickled pink" (her words) at the sight of all of her children pooling their resources for their big sister. 

She would have LOVED the fact that Reid, upon my request, clipped boughs from our blue spruce out front, threw them in the tree pot she gave us and made our own Christmas tree!  We weren't going to be here for almost half of the month, so it seemed like middle-ground between no tree and big tree :)

She would have loved to hear about the girls visiting Santa, and how Grace just spoke right up and talked to him--no tears, no fears.  And how he couldn't understand a thing Abby said, but responded with a perfect "Oh, that'll be nice."

I feel like I cried my (pre-pregnancy) weight in tears this holiday season.  I missed my mom more than I had since she passed away.  It had never felt so permanent.  So unchangeable.  I needed to call her SO MANY TIMES.  Between questions about Christmas, sewing/crocheting projects and fund-raising stuff--i just NEEDED my mom!!! And it hurt so much to think that she's gone, and that she'll be gone for all the Christmases to come.  The faith i have that I'll see her again someday, and that we'll be together forever did nothing to ease the pain of her being gone during the holidays--which was sad and made me feel like I was missing the whole point of the season. 

I thought it would help if I buried myself in projects, especially the kind she used to do.  So, on top of the fund-raising, I made a quilt for my dad and siblings--one that should have started in October or November--but didn't because of morning sickness.  I had these two pairs of her pajamas that were the inspiration for the quilt:

Both pairs, as you can see, were very pink, and i didn't want it to look like a baby quilt.  So with MUCH help from a dear friend of mine, Gina, i found just the right combination of colors and spent every free second in December working on this:

Even with all the quilting no-no's and short cuts i took, it still took so much longer than i'd anticipated!  But it was probably the only thing I did that made my mom feel closer.  Most things just reminded me how far away she is, but when I worked on this--it didn't feel like that.  So, although i complained non-stop about how this was stressing me out and taking over my life...the truth is, i really, really, really loved working on it. 

My favorite part is this little p.j. pocket :)

I didn't realize how much I needed to be with my family until we got to Provo a week before Christmas--5 of my 7 siblings were there-- and I felt like my grief was lifted.  There were people around me who were feeling as sad as I was--who also missed Mom. And I was home, in my mom's home.  I was able to "deck" my parent's halls (my dad had 'saved' all the Christmas decorating for us :) ) which was SOOO healthy and healing and good for my aching heart.  It was just so good to be back where all of my memories of her and Christmas take place. 

We went to the cemetery.  That was a beautiful and sad moment.  I hadn't seen my mom's grave marker yet.  It was a lot like when I first saw her obituary--it made it feel even more real.  Why does it need to keep feeling more real???

We sang some carols, including one of her favorites--The Holly and the Ivy.  We cried.  We hugged.  We grieved.  

We also had so many joyous moments.  For the first time all season, I was truly able to enjoy Christmas and all the wonderfulness that comes with it!

We had a birthday party for Kristie/Baby Shower for Jared and Kristie's little girl--Alia Kathryn Ashworth--who'll be born in a couple weeks.  And we even convinced the men in the family to play a baby shower game!  Granted it was Baby Shower Taboo rather than Name The Melted Candy Bar In The Diaper...

We play Celebrity Bowl Game (as always) and stayed up past 1am (as always)
(no photos...thank heavens)

We did a little Nativity with hymns and scriptures.

We ran barefoot in the snow (by "we" i do not mean "me"--i was the designated photographer :) )

We had a great time just being together.  It wasn't "my year" to have Christmas at my house, so this little jaunt to Provo for some pre-Christmas celebrating wasn't actually in the plans.  But plans changed.  And I'm so glad they did.  I don't know if I could have really enjoyed our next few days up in Wyoming at Reid's house if I hadn't had those three days in Provo.  It was just what I needed.


Denita said...

Every time I read about someone else grieving for their mother, I grieve a little for mine too. I am so sorry! After 10 years there are still days I want to call my mom or that I cry when I think about her, so it doesn't ever go completely away. But I like to think that the Lord makes up for it in other ways. I am glad that you were able to spend time with people who made the pain easier to handle!

Jessica Mason said...

Love you, love your quilt, love your honesty, love your sweet spirit love your friendship, love your guts!

Jenny said...

Oh wow, what a gorgeous quilt! You came up with such a beautiful design--the colors and patterns are all so great together. It looks amazing. I'm sorry that the holidays were tough for you. It's so special how you were able to honor and remember your mom during them, though.

p.s. those pictures of your three darling girls at the top of your blog are stunning!!

Elise said...

I'm so glad you found a little peace this Christmas with your family. And your quilt is so awesome!

carin t said...

I tho't about you this Christmas and should have emailed you. The "firsts" are always the hardest. I'm glad you were able to spend your "first" holiday with your siblings. They'll surely be your new go-to's as the time goes by. You'll be evenmore grateful for a big family. Love you, lady. Hang in there. And , congrats on your upcoming little one. We hope to get a boy at some point, too!

Rachel said...

Your quilt turned out amazing! What a great tribute. I'm glad you were able to find some solace with your family this holiday season!

spideybrian said...

the quilt looks AWESOME!! Well done!! I'm glad I could...well, wait a minute, I really just mostly munched on whatever candies Gina was making, and I may have used your scissors once or twice...but it was fun!!

Glad you got to be with family, you're mom is watching you...

dkeaquinto said...

I'm so sorry it took reading your blog to realize how hard this must have been for you. Although I can't possibly know how you feel, know you are loved beyond what you can comprehend. Thank you for being you.

Cassi said...

i am so glad you were able to be together with your siblings and your dad. What a rough time. The holidays seem to bring grief right to the surface no matter how long its been. Being together with those who understand makes a world of difference. I am glad you got that peace. Your girls are so beautiful!

The Busby Family said...

Oh Emily, my heart goes out to you and your family. I can't imagine how hard it was. I just LOVE the quilt you made, I'm sure your Dad was sooooo happy to have such a wonderful daughter.