Liz Herrmann—Seasons Greetings Everyone!
I hope this finds you in good spirits and ready for the holidays! Hopefully all of your lists have been made, candles have been lit, decorations hung, songs belted out and good food prepared. As I was laying in bed tonight I couldn’t help but think about how different the holidays have changed for me over the years with things like siblings going to college, moving away, me going away to college or how families change. Some of these changes have shifted holidays in ways I didn’t imagine. When my siblings came home from college I felt that the time we had to spend together was so limited that we had to pack in as much Christmas spirit and as many memories as possible. There was no downtime, we had to be making memories that would last forever at all times; I expected our family to be the jolliest, merriest family all of the time. As I grew older I realized that this would be impossible! Now that I’m in college things have definitely changed. I know that every minute I’m home is a minute I earned during the semester; every time I was struggling through a paper, studying, practicing for a presentation I would say to myself “only x amount of days til I get to go home”. This is what I’ve been looking forward to all of those late nights when I was on desk, so why hasn’t it been magical? Because magic is for Disney. Love, laughter, traditions, stress, the way someone lights up when you see them, these things are for families.
As the clock kept ticking my mind continued to drift; this would be the first Christmas without her.
We would all sit in a circle and open the presents youngest to oldest, we would eat piles of cheesy potatoes, polish sausage, mini cheesecakes and cookies, we would watch both Home Alone 1+2, we would laugh around the fire, scour the Christmas tree for the lucky pickle ornament; without her. She wouldn’t be sitting there with a pile of gifts that she wouldn’t open until all of us had finished opening ours, tea wouldn’t be made for her, no Irish sweater with a Christmas pin and no waft of the Amazing Grace perfume she’d wear.
My grandmother and I were very close; we’d sit on our porch in the summer and talk. She would tell me stories and I’d laugh, she’d always say what a beautiful day it was. The way her deep blue Irish eyes warmed up when she laughed or she called everyone “love”. She had passed in September of this year and it doesn’t matter if you think you’re ready for that phone call, you’re not. When I am at school if feels like time at home pauses, nothing changes. It feels like an alternate universe or when you pause your DVR to change to the other channel. The previous channel stays just where it is. Buffalo would be Buffalo, mom and dad would go to work, the dog went out 3 times a day, stagnant. My DVR broke. I wasn’t ready for this, but I knew she’d be at every performance, big event, family picnic and holiday even if there was no tea made.
So this year if the fates allow you another Christmas, another laugh, another kiss, another song with someone; take it. Know that in that moment you were given the best gift possible, a gift that cannot be returned or exchanged for anything else.
I hope you have the merriest of holiday seasons and you share it with the people that make you the most happy and that you love!