Christmas time is here again. Seems just like yesterday I was taking our tree down and getting our house back to normal from the last Christmas. The older I get, the faster the years go by and this year has been no exception. 2019 has been a tough one on my family, as tough as a year has ever been. In the last month alone, my Dad had to have his leg amputated and one of my child hood heroes, my cousin Pat Olmi, passed away from a heart attack. But in March of this year, we lost the heart of our family, my Mother.
The loss of a parent is something that you never really get over. We all handle loss differently but, the bottom line is, there is a whole in your heart that will truly never be filled. Mom was our light in the darkest of moments, our biggest cheerleader in everything that we did and loved us more than I think we could possibly comprehend. Her pride and joy were her children and especially her grandchildren. They were on top of that list.
Growing up, Mom made every Christmas special. We weren’t monetarily rich by any stretch of the imagination but, every Christmas was magical for us thanks to Mom. Our tree was brightly lit and colorful with many many presents under the tree. And no matter what we asked Santa for, whether we were good or bad, it somehow showed up under our tree Christmas morning. As we got older, Christmas became more about the grandchildren and just as she did with us, she mad sure that it was a magical time for them. I remember one year on Christmas Eve, my niece Brittany, who may have been 5 or 6 at the time, casually made the comment that if the presents left under the tree were not in a red sack, they weren’t from Santa. Mom had every one of us searching all over Greenville, Mississippi for not one but two red sacks to make sure that both her babies, Brittany and my younger niece Danielle, knew Santa had come. I bet we hit every store that was open in the Delta, she would not take no for an answer. We found the red sacks and everything was right again.
After we got older, every Christmas, Mom got my brother and me a package of socks as part of our gift. One year, Mom decided that she wasn’t going to give us socks, we probably didn’t need any she thought. I thought she was going to fall out laughing at my brother and I as we both were saying, “MOM WHERE ARE OUR SOCKS?!?!” She never missed giving us socks again after that. So many great Christmas memories with Mom are etched in my mind and I cherish each of them. If I had known that last year would be the last one to share with her, I would have hugged her a little tighter, kissed her cheeks a few more times and told her how much I loved her over and over.
This year Christmas a will be so much different than before. With Mom’s passing and Dad still in the hospital, rehabbing from his surgery, we won’t be together as much as years past. Sure we will see everyone but, it really won’t be the same. I know we aren’t the only family having to go through a tough go of it this time of year and we are thankful for what we have but, it will just be different.
Christmas time is meant to be spent with the ones you love. If I could give anyone reading this a piece of advice, it would be this. This year, let go of any grudges or hard feelings you may be harboring. It just isn’t worth holding onto in the grand scheme of things. Hold on to your loved ones a little tighter and make sure they know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you love and cherish them. As the Garth Brooks song says, “If tomorrow never comes, will they know how much I loved them?” If your parents are still with you, shower them with extra affection this year and know just how lucky you are to have them. Make Christmas all about them this year, they deserve it. And if you are a believer, remember the reason for the season. The birth of our savior Jesus Christ, the greatest gift you or I will ever receive.
As for you, yes you, the one reading this. I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of new years. If we don’t know each other, thank you for taking time to read my thoughts. I hope you get something out of my rambling on. If you are a friend or family member, please know that I love you unconditionally. You have been a blessing in my life in ways that you cannot ever imagine. God put us in each others life for a reason, maybe we know why, maybe not but we can agree that God doesn’t make mistakes, so thank you for being in my life. This year has been a tough one but, we survived as we all seem to do. May God keep you and bless you this holiday season and again I love you all.