On the day after Christmas my dad always said, “Well, it’s all over but the mess and the memories!” He loved holidays. He possessed a wonderful childlike quality that endeared him to all who knew him. I can still see the smile on his face and the glow about him at Christmastime. Not one special occasion ever passes without my remembering this special man.
I’d like to think my children and grandchildren will always remember me fondly at holiday time, too. We are a large family. When we all get together, it’s loud, confusing and fun! This year was especially so. We first had a Christmas Eve celebration with the ones who live close by. There was an abundance of good food, the exchanging of gifts, and much laughter. After a brief rest on Christmas Day, we gathered again the next day when family members who live out of town arrived. Once again, we shared good food, togetherness, gift exchanging and loads of fun! This lasted for two days.
But tonight, sitting here alone after everyone else is in bed, I’m beginning to feel somewhat depressed. My daughter and her family will be leaving in the morning and we probably won’t see them again until late spring or summer. That makes me unhappy.
When I was a young mother, my husband and I used to take our children to visit my elderly grandmother and grandfather who lived in another state. My grandmother would always cry when we left. I’d say, “Please don’t cry; we’ll visit you again in a few months.” But she once told me she feared each time we left that she’d never see us again.
I’m not as old as she was, but I’m not young either, and I suppose there’s a little of that fear in me, too. I sense it each time I must say good-bye to someone I love. An inexplicable feeling of finality comes over me as I watch the car that carries my loved ones move slowly out of my driveway and then – out of my sight. I feel sad. Empty.
But as I walk back into the house, I hear my dad’s voice, “It’s all over but the mess and the memories,” and I begin to feel a little better. This year, there were pictures taken and memories made that will last a lifetime. Hopefully, every member of the family will look back lovingly on the Christmas of 2010 and smile as they remember what a wonderful time we had together!
We even had a white Christmas!