On Saturday I bought a Christmas tree. It was only the second tree I bought alone, for myself, in my whole life and while I was driving to where my family had always bought there tree it hit me.
It doesn’t matter that this is Christmas number three without my mom, I still miss her. I miss giving her presents and I miss receiving her presents. I miss our shared dislike for the family times and our pre-family unpacking of presents. I still got to open presents at my Grandma’s place with the others but we always had a little ceremony at home for ourselves beforehand.
This year, all gifts that end up under my tree will be mine. Ones I have gotten myself and after some encouragement from Twitter, I even wrapped them but it still doesn’t make up for the fact that I know what’s in them. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I’m able to buy my own stuff but I also miss the being thankful for for another person.
I miss my mom. Simple as that.
When I was a kid we lived across the street from where we bought our trees. One December day, usually a Saturday, we would walk over there to pick out a tree and then carry it back home to lie in the garden until Christmas Eve which is when we put the tree up.
For almost as long as I can remember, it was my duty to decorate the tree because Mom had other things to do and also not the patience for the lights and little decorations and my FauxCD brain gladly took that task. It’s still one of my favourite things about Christmas. I amended the tradition though to include some booze and also Christmas songs or an Astrid Lindgren movie because her Emil movies belong to Christmas here. They just do. Never mind that they also serve to remind me of my time in Sweden.
All of those things are mingling together in my head right now. On Monday, my extended family will get here to celebrate Christmas and I don’t know how I feel about it because I never know how I feel about them. I just don’t. It’s all mixed feelings.
These days, I’m also anxious about Grandma because she is getting older and more frail every day and I wish I could just turn the other eye but I guess I will have to have a talk with my uncle about it.
Then, I’m anticipating the usual arguments, my indignant cousins who, despite getting older, I have not found to get more grateful. They don’t know how good they have it. At least not from where I’m standing.
To summarise, I have mixed feelings about my remaining family. And I miss the part I already lost. I’ll get drunk around noon on the 24th in order to prepare for 3 days of being with my extended family. Maybe it’ll also be in part to dull that ever existent hole in my soul. As stupid as it may be.
My life has changed so much over the past two years and it just makes me sad that she isn’t here to see it because a lot of the person, writing this, is due to who she was. I was raised by two amazing women. Two incredibly strong women. I can only hope to step into their footsteps but don’t repeat their mistakes.
Maybe this time of year, as 2014 nears its end, makes me nostalgic. During Sunday lunch, Gran murmured 2014 again and again as to not being able to make sense of the fact that 2014 nearly passed. She, who never expected to make it through 1944 or to celebrate her 12th birthday. 70 years have passed since then and just trying to get that into my head and really understand it is beyond me.
My tiny, hard heart is aching with memories and expectations of the days to come.