Celebrating the holidays

Christmas is nearly here and I’m celebrating with my mother, who is 97 years old. That’s a lot of Christmases to have under your belt – sparse ones when she was a child, ones where she spent her money on her children to make their Christmas great and Christmases now, when she is dependent on others to help her buy gifts and cook. But Christmas is a time of peace, hope and joy no matter how she celebrates it.

The tree is lit and decorated. The presents are under it. She’s finishing up cards (I have to do that also). We’ve sung Christmas carols. I’ve been to church. A friend died yesterday. She’s sad about that, happy about having her daughter with her, missing my brother and his family.

She’ll spend some time with her great-grandson, who turned 3 on Friday. We’ll have a little party here. But his grandmother, her stepdaughter, is the one who decided how the party would go – not my mother. That’s a shame. My mother is the type who could plan a party that would be fun for a 3-year-old. Oh well, that’s how things goes in families.

 

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Aging (from my mother’s perspective)

I don’t run any more – I now walk through my days.

Wrinkles abound and a little girl kisses my face to feel the crevices.

No longer can I work for 24 hours straight, or even with five hours rest at night.

As they say, old age just ain’t for sissies.

But that’s not all that’s going on in my life.

A little girl still lives inside me.

That girl scuffles through the sandy yard where she grew up, her feet bare.

She remembers the ferns on her mother’s porch in her mind’s eye.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize my face.

What should be there is unlined, glowing skin.

That’s not what I see.

The reality is lines that come from living and learning – my marks of character.

But, just as when I was a child or a young woman, work is still important to me.

I want to change the world, one person at a time.

 Want to help people live lives of decency and respect.

Caring for those I love is part of that.

While it’s gotten tougher, that’s possible.

I can let the little girl have free reign at times.

Then I can be a wise elder giving tips on living (without preaching).

And I know I’ll live as long as my descendants

recall me and my wisdom

That’s immortality.