Merry Christmas, Mom.
At first glance, there doesn't seem to be much holiday spirit in my house. We haven't had a tree up in a couple of years now, there are no lights or stockings, and my mom's famous (or infamous) collections of nutcrackers and Snowbabies remain safely tucked away in their boxes. And there are no presents – no visible ones, anyway. But even though she didn't make it to Christmas, my mom gave me some incredible gifts before she left. I have a beautiful rainbow afghan sitting in Chicago that she somehow made in hotel rooms and hospital beds while she was in Seattle. (I still don't understand how she pulled that off, and probably never will). The last words she wrote are in a book I bought for her, sharing some of the stories of her childhood that I otherwise might never have heard. I have the comfort of having spent a week by her side shortly before she died, and accompanying her on her last trip home. And most importantly, I know that she loves me for everything that I am, and believes in me and the work that I do, and nobody can ever take that away from me.
Merry Christmas, Mom. I'll always love you.
Photo credit: American University