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:
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.