If you’re new here, you can read this to get the background on my amazing Mom.
Warning: if you’re an ugly crier and you’re in public, you may want to read this later. I say this because I am an ugly crier. A very, very ugly crier.
It’s that time of year again. The time when I try to stay too busy to think about the fact that my heart aches for you. But the truth is, you’re the reason I love this time of year. Because you made Christmas everything it should be. Real trees that made the whole house smell like pine. Christmas decorations depicting family memories from years gone by. Hot chocolate, snow angels, snuggles under a blanket. And teaching me that it wasn’t about the presents, or the tree, or the nativity set. It was about celebrating our faith, our Savior. I try to give my girls the same thing. The same memories. The same love. And my heart breaks at the thought of them not knowing you. Of you not holding them, loving them, spoiling them with too much candy. I feel like they got a bum deal, too. Because I know that you would have been the most amazing grandma ever.
I know you would have come to every Christmas play, every school award ceremony. I know you would have kidnapped them for sleepovers. I know you would have taken them for a night when I was sick. I know you would have been at the hospital with me when Goo was in the NICU. I know you would have helped me know if I was doing a good job, if I was overreacting, if I was loving them enough.
The truth is, there is one gift I wish I could have every year: just one more day with you. I day to ask you all my questions. To apologize for all the times I didn’t listen, all the times I hurt you. A day to tell you how amazing you are, how much I miss you, how much I wish I could have understood more as a child. To hear you say it’s okay, that you forgive me for being a kid, for not knowing how precious our time together was. I imagine that you felt the same way I do towards my girls: that Goo could never know how much I wish I could help her calm down when she’s so upset, Punkin could never know how truly amazing I think she is, Smush could never know the pure joy I feel when I see her every morning. I know you understood that I was just a kid, that I made mistakes, that I still had so much to learn.
I’m not one for discussing this openly, but somehow writing to you is cathartic. I have no idea how this afterlife stuff works, but I like to think you can read this. So you can read about Goo’s crazy antics, Smush’s silly smiles, Punkin’s overly aggressive affection. I like to think that you can see Goo scaling the walls, Punkin tickling her sisters, Smush yelling, “Goo! Goo!” every time she wakes up from her nap.
I wish you were here. I wish you were here so very badly. But you’re not, so this is my promise:
I will give like you gave. I will teach like you taught. I will forgive like you forgave. I will encourage like you encouraged. I will discipline like you disciplined. I will love like you loved.
I will teach my girls about you, about the way you let me wear your fancy dress when we watched Gone with Wind so I could pretend I was Scarlett O’Hara. The way you snuggled me at night. The way you prayed. The way you taught me not to listen to the world, but to listen to the truth, to the Word. The way you sang, the way you laughed. The way you were always so perfectly beautiful, inside and out. They way you called me Betsy McGillicutty.
I love you, Mom. Now and always.