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My letter from Santa

December 19, 2011 2 comments

I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing this. I admit I’m doing so without his permission. But I’m guessing that Santa reads my blog and that’s how he knew I’d so appreciate hearing from him.

When I checked my mail on Saturday (as you know I love to do), there was a letter waiting for me with the return address “123 Reindeer Lane, North Pole.”

The letter offers such a concise year in review for me, and I thought others might enjoy hearing from the magical man themselves.

Dear Mary,

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve corresponded with you. I’ve been a little backed up with all the new children that have been coming in the world, but I didn’t want you to think that I hadn’t been keeping my eye on you through the years.

As I was checking my list for this year, I see that you’ve been very, very good and very, very busy.

I would like to say best wishes on your upcoming nuptials next year. I’m sure that you have picked a great man to spend the rest of your life with.

I also see that your nieces and nephews voted you their favorite aunt. That is quite an accomplishment.

Lastly on my list I see that you and your mother have been very close and making lasting memories throughout the year. That must have been one great road trip that you took together. Although the circumstances were not that great, it was nice that you could bond together.

My elves are pulling me away to get ready for my journey in a couple weeks. I don’t want you to worry about a thing this Christmas. Keep holding strong to the Christmas faith and I’ll take care of the rest.

Merry Christmas,

Santa Claus

We were about this old when Anne got her own letter from Santa.

In so few words, so many moments and emotions were captured. My engagement, of course. My relationship with my nieces and nephews (which only grew this year when Finn was sick…and when from the hospital he declared I was his favorite aunt). And the year of weddings and funerals – which included Mom and I driving from DC to Florida and back through South Carolina all in one weekend.

This has certainly been a year of major growth in my relationships with not just my old family, but also my new one that is forming as Charles and I prepare to become our own family.

Thank you Santa for all the reminders. And may all my readers and their families have the best Christmases this year!

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My bladder’s been close to my eyes today…

December 15, 2011 2 comments

Maybe it’s the season, maybe it’s the weather…

Who knows what has been in the air lately, but I’ve been missing my daddy.

A week or so ago I got the strongest urge to call him. I’m not even sure I had something important to say to him. I just missed being able to call him.

A few days after that, my cousin posted a photo of her adorable daughter with Santa on Facebook. She mentioned that Santa had acquired a Southern accent.

I knew what my father would have said, and I replied back.

“Santa speaks to each and every child in the world in the language they are most familiar with.” (This was Dad’s explanation for Santa’s handwriting looking a lot like his.)

Today, I read this blog about Santa and his existence.

At paragraph 7, I got a little misty.

Right around paragraph 10 I nearly lost it completely.

Perhaps it’s through the traditions of Santa that make Christmas so much about the family and how parents and children celebrate. Or perhaps that’s just the case for me and my mom and dad.

I wouldn’t be super upset if I didn’t get to spend Easter or Thanksgiving with my mother, but I am cherishing this next Christmas because of the possibility of it being my last Christmas with her. No, I’m not expecting her to die. But I feel like it will all change when I get married.

Charles thinks I’m insane. What’s going to change about Christmas just because I’m married? But it won’t be the same ever again.

I won’t go to midnight Mass, just Mom and I, at Sacred Heart where they turn off all the lights and play Silent Night on the violin while we both try to hide our sniffling and tears (trust me, it’s beautiful and moving and we’re not the only snifflers!). I won’t be going home to our house to spend the night. I won’t be waking up there, that morning, with her, to open the stockings that are from “Santa.”

Sure, Charles and I could visit and do these things, but it seems that once I get married, we should have our own traditions. And even if we do these things with Mom, it still just won’t be the same. Yes. Maybe I’m over 30. But I still see getting married as a mark that I’m becoming an adult, and that certain things are going to change.

He'll hate me for posting this one! But he was always eager to try on or try our presents.

Christmas for me will always be full of memories of me, my mom, and especially my dad. It was him who wrote us the letters from Santa. It was his childhood photo with Santa that was set out on the piano every year. I feel like it was him who was always the first to remind us of the real reason we celebrated Christmas if ever our gift-giving intentions got out of hand.

And so, to end my day where my thoughts have been on all things Christmas and very much about my dad…my boss shared with the office a thank you letter we received from a writer who spoke at the University last year.

Most people didn’t notice, but I had the eye for it.

The letter, like so many of my father’s letter, was typed on a type writer.

In between the lines of the writer’s words of thanks and praise, I could see the care one has to take to type a letter.

The care with which my father typed every letter he wrote.

And the care with which told every story about Santa, his spirit, his love, and his magic.

Memorable Signs of the Season

December 2, 2011 1 comment

Growing up, most of the window sills in my grandmother’s house were full of potted plants. And where she didn’t have a window sill (in the bathroom maybe), she’d have a rooting jar hanging near the window for ivy or other creepers to grow out of.

When she passed away, in addition to assorted “things” (I never dreamed I’d have such a collection of carnival glass), many of us grandchildren were also gifted plants.

I’ve had this Christmas cactus in my kitchen window since I moved into my house more than 2 years ago. This is it’s third Christmas with me.

Every year, come frost outside, I’d anxiously wait to see if any buds would appear.

Christmas cacti are fickle creatures. Everything has to be *just* right for them to bloom. I always thought it was silly that Mom kept her giant one in a room no one went into so we hardly ever saw it. But come Christmastime, when the room stayed nice and cool since it was closed, that thing would bloom like crazy!

Maybe it was turning my heat way down over the Thanksgiving holiday when I was gone, but FINALLY I got blooms on my plant!

Since I’d never seen it bloom, I assumed the blooms would be orange. My grandmother put masking tape on the pots so that when they weren’t in bloom, she knew which one was which color.

Maybe I’m color blind, but does that look orange? I think it looks prettier than I imagined orange to be.

This is only the first of 3 or 4 buds to fully open up. So I guess I have plenty of Christmas time coming ahead of me!

Aunt Mary’s Here!

June 30, 2011 1 comment

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook how much you’re loved when life becomes a routine. But going home last weekend for the first time since Easter, I was overjoyed to see it again in the face of children.

My first stop was at my sister’s house, to see her before they left for a trip. As I pulled into her cul de sac and beeped my horn at my niece on her bike, her face lit up! (Did she know I’d missed her birthday and had a present for her? Maybe.)

Then when I got to my mom and brother’s house, 5 out of 6 of the kids were waiting on the stoop with Granny. I guess they’d gotten too wound up and excited to be inside anymore!

You’d think I spoil these kids rotten, but I swear I don’t! All I had for them this time (with the exception of the two about to have birthdays) were toys from happy meals that I’ve collected (I can’t just pass on one toy…I have to wait until I have 4 or 5 so no one gets upset). But surprises or no surprises, they were just excited I’d come to see them and there was a new face around. And possibly a second iPhone in the house so two of them could play snail race at the same time.

Watch how many times I can jump rope Mary! Watch how long we can hula hoop! Watch us race around the house and see who wins!

Wow. Was my childhood really that simple?

 

Categories: Family, Home Tags: , , ,

Honey do…

April 18, 2011 4 comments

The most useful tool I have found since owning a house, is having a boyfriend who for all instances “has a guy.”

I need my house painted – “I know a guy,” he says.

I need electrical work done – “I know a guy.”

I have a list of miscellaneous things to do all over the house (fix the fence gate so it won’t blow open, install a light in Granny’s room, fix a socket the painting “guy” installed wrong, etc.) – “I know a guy.”

Today I’ve left Charles at my house with this exhaustive list, along with a list of things he can do while waiting for his guy/while the guy works. Raking the yard makes me sick…it’s on there. Those curtain rods I’m too short to install (why would anyone buy a step ladder when they can just date someone tall?), level the washer so it won’t annoying crawl across the floor, etc.

And on the topic of electricians…my house is 30 years old and when I moved in, neither bedroom had a light in it. They both had switches, but no light attached. I get it that it’s cheaper for developers to not install the fixtures, but really? For 30 years people have lived there and not thought it necessary to have a light that would come on when the switch was flipped? No more. Whoever lives there next should really love me.

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Stopping to Smell the Roses…Or view the blossoms.

March 30, 2011 1 comment

I think one of the saddest things about living in a city (especially D.C.) is how often I simply live here. I don’t take the time I used to to appreciate my surroundings. For this reason, I love the occasional opportunity to host out of town guests.

My cousin (who got married last summer) came down last weekend with her husband, who had never seen the city. He’s not a city person, but even he admitted he loved DC. (not sure I can agree with him on the “clean” part of why he liked it…but I do have to agree it’s a rather “small town” like city).

I dropped them off in the middle of the city one day and let them explore on their own while I worked, but took a day off to spend more time being a “tourist.”

One day, we managed to see the cherry blossoms, FDR, Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, and all the major war memorials (WWII, Vietnam, Korea). I realized while we were at the memorials, it had been something like 10 years since I’d been to see any of them up close (not just watched them pass from I-395). How sad is that?

And of course, we hit Chick-fila (they don’t have it in Connecticut) for a banana pudding shake (they’re AMAZING!).

The following day, I wanted to stay away from D.C. First day of the cherry blossom festival, national marathon, etc… No thank you! We decided to stay in Va. and I suggested Mount Vernon. I swear, everytime I go there the house gets smaller, but the grounds are so fun! We even got to see the spring lambs. Baaaah.

Is it Spring Yet?

February 24, 2011 1 comment

So, another joy of home ownership…who knows what’s growing my flower bed?

Last spring, bulbs sprouted green stuff…but (I think because of the Presidents’ Day snow) they never bloomed. So I STILL have no idea what’s planted there (other than my dahlias Mom planted, but because of the heat, they never bloomed either).

I still have hopes of walking out in the morning and, POW! Color coming out of my yin-yang!

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