This year, on Christmas Day, I found myself doing something that has never happened in our house.
I took down the tree and packed away Christmas.
In the two Christmases since Mom died, I have worked very hard to make Christmas just like she did. But this Christmas I realized, that one person cannot carry on traditions.
I think maybe there was a magic that Mom added that is gone now, and I realized this year, that maybe I can't recreate it.
Mom made sure that the Christmas season started as soon as you saw Santa in the Macy's day parade.
The tree went up, and the house was decorated the day after Thanksgiving.
Ridiculous Christmas outfits and shirts got worn the entire season.
Christmas cards were written, and sent.
There were specific meals- green bean casserole. Sweet potato casserole. Roast Beast on Christmas Day.
There was baking to be done- Mom's Hersey Pie, and bourbon balls.
Stockings always had candy, and little treats.
Matching Christmas PJs got opened on Christmas Eve.
Lots of pictures taken on Christmas Day.
And I've done all of these things. I've replicated everything down to the very last detail. But there was something missing. And this Christmas I realized that there was one missing element. One I couldn't recreate.
Mom was missing. And she wasn't coming back.
I can replicate everything she did. I can make the house look just like she did, but it doesn't mean that she's coming back.
And I realized, I don't know what Christmas is without Mom.
Christmas to many people is large families, and catching up, and it's a combination of all those things, and all those people's traditions. But to me, Christmas is Mom. And I guess I don't know what it's supposed to be without her. I don't know if I can recapture the magic of it without her. She always made it the most magical time of the year. A time when magic LITERALLY entered the world. When everything was a little brighter, a little nicer. When anything was possible.
And I want to believe all of that.
But I realized this year, that maybe I don't. That maybe I don't know how.
Because how magical can the world be if she's not here?
It's been almost two years since she died, and I guess part of me thought I was over the hard part. That I had gone through everything. That I still missed her, but it had begun to heal. But I've realized that it doesn't heal. When you lose your Mom (and god to I hate that phrase- I didn't lose her, it's not like where did I put my Mom?) nothing is ever right again. The world keeps spinning, and life goes on, but it never seems right again. It always seems as though you're living in an alternate timeline.
When a friend of mine's dad died a few years ago, her family stopped celebrating Christmas. They all go to a tropical hideaway and just spend some time together. I mentioned that to Dad, and he said it sounded like a good idea- we should all go to DisneyWorld, or Vegas.
But even if I can't recapture the magic of Mom. Even if the holidays are lacking something without her, I don't think I can let it go. Because she's not here. And the fairy dust magic she added is gone. But when I do everything she does. And recreate it all, there's a trace of her.
So yes, the tree and all of Christmas came down on Christmas night this year. Yes, Christmas for me was over as soon as it occurred this year.
And next year, I can't guarantee that any of it will be the same. I don't know if these are the holiday blues or a blip.
But I'm betting next year it will still look like elves threw up all over the house.