I am so delighted to have my Mom guest posting here today (Hi Mom!). Hers is a lovely piece to get us all in the mood for Christmas. It follows nicely from what I wrote yesterday, because she is my most favourite Lawlor woman of all. Welcome to my Mom!
Hi, I’m Finola’s Mom, (Hi Finola!) and she has asked me to write a guest piece for her November daily blog. I am not a creative writer so I thought I’d write about something that means a great deal to me. I’m talking about the Christmas season as a whole, but specifically about Christmas Eve.
I’ve always loved Christmas. Even though I hate shopping in any form, Christmas shopping was an exception. I loved the crowded malls, the beautiful decorations, the Salvation Army bells, and even the endless repetition of Christmas carols did not bother me. Shopping for the perfect presents for family and friends was very important to me.
Since my children left home, I am always alone on Christmas Eve. As evening falls, I light a candle in a crystal wind light that my sister, Ursula, gave me in memory of a much-loved sister, Una, and place it in the centre of the dining room table. The tree is brightly lit and glowing with ornaments, collected over many years. Then, in the silence of the house, my thoughts turn to Christmases past, and all the people that shared my childhood Christmases in Ireland years ago.
But most of all, I remember the ones that are no longer with us: My Mother and Father, my sisters Una, Peggy and Mona and my brother Eamonn. I think about them and how lovely the Christmas season was, filled with love and laughter.
These memories may sound morbid, but they are not to me; I get a wonderful sense of peace as I remember them, and I can almost feel their presence.
I think of my sister, Ursula, recently widowed, with her sons Niall and Peter and their partners, Rosaleen and Kathryn, and how much they all mean to me. It gives me great comfort knowing that Ursula has a loving family to spend Christmas Day with. Ursula is the kind of sister everyone should have. She has been a rock for me.
There is my sister, Pat, in Birmingham, who is also a widow. She too has a family, John, Monica and Trisha who, with their families, help make the season memorable for her.
An ocean separates my sisters and me, but we have managed to visit back and forth often and the family bonds are still very strong. My children and their cousins in Ireland and England are also very close.
So, I enjoy the solitude of Christmas Eve as I reflect on the past.
Then, on Christmas morning my family arrives. Finola and Tony, and my incomparable granddaughters, N and B; my son Paul and his lovely partner, Tamara and, if I’m lucky, Tamara’s beautiful twin daughters.
Then my house is filled with the love and laughter that I remember so well from my childhood, as we open our presents, and look forward to our traditional Christmas dinner of barbecued steak and grilled lobster tails. Paul and Tony are the barbecue chefs, and I’m responsible for the lobster. Everyone helps with the vegetables, setting the table, etc.
I thank God that I have these young people in my life. I love them all deeply.
Happy Christmas to all.