Monday, December 10, 2012

Bad role model, great life lessons..............

Wow, the time is whizzing by until Christmas and all the mayhem will be behind us. I realized as we sat and watched some holiday shows this weekend that I have truly infected my grands with a chronic case of holidayaholic. They know every word in It's a Wonderful Life as well as Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer....and we watch it why????? Because much like so many of the things we engage in for the holidays, it is traditional.
Some traditions are hard to recreate and who would want to anyway. I haven't seen any of my Mother's ornaments that she used to use for at least 9 years until yesterday. I hadn't wanted to for the reality that they would bring with the sight of them. Good and bad memories of the holidays. My Mother always expected (gotta watch those expectations people) that all would be perfect and that her dysfunctional family would all pull up there drawers and behave themselves on Christmas because that's what nice people do. Bless her heart, of course it never worked out that way. We were after all humans doing the things we always did....screwing up.
I remember the happiness that putting up the nativity and decorating the tree brought to my Mother, even if my Dad always make it miserable when he put on the lights and got upset and stormed off mid do....every year like Rudolph. The house lights were worse yet, the anger, the ranting and swearing. But the worst was Christmas morning when he would throw the kids (nieces and nephews) presents away along with the mountain of wrapping paper.....every year and he did it on purpose. Ho ho ho.
And still my Mother and her expectations would charge on with the attitude that we would be better or else. Don't be mislead, she didn't do it with a happy song in her heart either. Poor thing, my Dad and one or all of us never failed to disappoint her with the wrong present, the wrong food dish to share, not being on time (my sister's contribution every year), not dressing up enough, saying the wrong thing or just not having a good attitude. She lived to have the perfect Christmas with perfect kids, grandkids and I don't think she ever had a happy Christmas. Being the youngest of three I always was left with the aftermath and her disappointment....the one true gift of the season. But enough of yesteryear.
Shelley hadn't used or looked at the ornaments she brought with her since she and the kids moved back here 3 years ago. She hadn't wanted to face looking at the decorations.....same reason, memories and not all bad but certainly not good. So yesterday morning, I sat with her while she unwrapped each one with trepidation. Fearful of the mini heartbreaks they might contain. Funny thing, she did great. Most of the decos were from when she was little or the kids ornaments I bought them every year. Also the black decorations I bought for her to decorate her gothy dark holiday mantel when she moved out and had her own apartment. Fun stuff mostly and then she unwrapped the ornaments that she had gotten after my Mothers death. And ya know it was more okay than I had even hoped for. Just twinges of my growing up.
I bought my Mother carousels and carousel horses for years. They were some of her favorites. So they will hang on the family tree this year. I have reminisced with the old ickies from the ghost of Christmas past and scooted him on down the road and away from me. With little or no pain I am able to tell about the epic fail expectations of  times gone by and realize why I am as loosey goosey about our celebrations......experience. So like the saying goes...some people are put into our lives to learn what not to do from them. Thanks Mom, I have kept your enthusiasm and hope and melded it with a dose of reality that the people I love are flawed as am I and we are goobers about decorating and having a good time with much less stress, far fewer tears and no resentments....and all the toys stay in the house instead of the garbage can. Neither the getting nor the giving is the important's that we have that time to share.

I hope next time around your life will be blessed with valium moments, realistic expectations and warm sincere hugs Mom. Thanks for the lessons.


  1. That last paragraph up there....that says it all. Oma, you are one of the wisest women I've had the pleasure of knowing, even if it's only through cyberspace.

    We decorated our tree this weekend. Our tree only has ornaments that are meaningful. It's not about how it looks, it's about the memories that hang from it. Every year I tear up when I pull each ornament out that shows me how time has passed in my son's life with his growth, the vacations and times spent together with my family, the beginning of my marriage and all the years of memories we have built.

    Decorating my tree is about Yule, nothing to do with the commercialism of Christmas.

    I loved reading this Oma.

  2. I can so relate to Shelly having a hard time with putting up old decorations and ornaments. My mother passed away 15 years ago and putting up my ornaments still brings twinges of the past. You have a beautiful blessing for your mother and may your Yule be bright and beautiful.

  3. So, does this mean your tree is up and decorated? ;0)

    I don't have Christmas memories from ornaments passed down from my mom because I don't have anything that was hers. My Christmas memories from when I was a child were best forgotten so that's what I did. I'm good at forgetting. The Christmas memories that I treasure are the ones of my children and grands when they were little. Part of those memories came from watching Christmas movie classics together. We probably know all of them word for word.

    So, here's to making some wonderful Christmas moments to remember. S&S

  4. When I was young, I never thought that memories of the past would be bittersweet. Now I know better, of course. It's taken the shine off nostalgia for me. Make new, happy traditions!

  5. I think we all have "Boxes" we have hidden away, afraid of the memories and emotions they might bring flooding back.

    Funny thing is ... once you are brave enough to open that box ... the memories and emotions that come tumbling out are not at all what you expected.

  6. Oma Linda, this is a very special post and I thank you for being so honest! I guess there is always looking at things in different ways, and you have taught me somethings and I thank you for that! Thanks for being such a special and wise person! Love ya! ;o) Hugs ;o)

  7. You said it, "Neither the getting nor the giving is the important part..."!

    Enjoy the holidays and continue the new tradition.

  8. What a lovely post! I have fond memories of Christmas past. I think it was the one time a year that I actually believed I was part of a family. Sadly, I've nothing left of my mom, but I've started my one family traditions. By the way, "It's a Wonderful Life" is a must see every year.

  9. Thank you for sharing the real lessons of this often chaotic holiday season. My mother is gone now and I will have to really search to see if I have any of her ornaments. Of course we have to get a tree first...I want a living tree..just a small one with ribbons and tiny affirmations! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  10. Glad you were able to do a good exorcism over your ornaments, and that you have a nice, sensible approach to the festive season :oD We've never been the mad expectations people since my grandfathers both died and we were able to farm off one miserable old boot of a granny to other members of the family while we retained the nice one. Every year the miserable one asks us what we're having for dinner (always beef or venison, I hate turkey and I'm the chef ;o) ) and every year she says 'Eeeugh, how revolting' to which I respond nice and promptly, 'And so is yours'. It probably is for her, my aunt can't cook to save herself ;o)

  11. "Neither the getting nor the giving is the important's that we have that time to share."

    Indeed, for holidays are people doing things together because they love each other.

  12. Linda what a beautiful and bittersweet post. We are all flawed humans, doing the best we can, and I'm glad you were able to bring out your mother's ornaments. Now you make your own lovely traditions with your family, and yes, the best part is just being with those we love, not the gifts.

    You are such a sweet and thoughtful woman, I received your lovely card the other day, and was so touched! It means alot to me, especially in the days of email, you are one in a million!
    Have a blessed Yule my dear,


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