By Nina Keenam
My mother went to her heavenly home in 2005, but Christmas holidays especially bring her to mind. For years after my daddy passed away, she loaded her car with gifts and goodies and headed to our house to spend Christmas with my family. Those visits lasted about two weeks. When we saw her packing up to return home, we always protested, but to no avail. She said she loved us all, but she was a little homesick. I suspected she was a little tired, too. She just did not admit it.
Almost every day during those visits, my husband and I came home from work to the scent of something good cooking. Not only did she have a meal under way for us, but she had put things in order in the house. Sometimes she good naturedly scolded us for the clutter we created.
I recall running home at lunch one day to find her in the kitchen, snowed under with dishes in the sink and food on the stove. She was in the middle of preparing some goodies for the grandchildren. I reminded her to never forget she was needed. Because she kept so busy, we tended to forget that she was no longer young. I think she stayed so busy, she forgot it herself at times. In later years when she came to live with us, she still helped cook and found plenty to do around the house.
I recall the years when we traveled to my parents’ house at Christmas from points all over to find the decorated house spic and span and shiny. She managed all that although she had a full-time job that required her to work late hours during the holidays. She must have been up extremely early every morning, buzzing around to get everything ready. My daddy helped with the grocery shopping, making sure besides the essentials, there was plenty of little extras, like fruit and candy for us.
We grew so accustomed to her efficiency that we took it for granted. My husband and children didn’t have a second of concern that things would go undone one Christmas day when I awoke too sick to get out of bed. Mother was there. They knew the turkey and everything else would be on the table right on schedule.
These days, I wish Mother could still be in my kitchen looking over our shoulders as we prepare our Christmas meal. We try to make turkey gravy that measures up to hers. I’m still working on preparing dressing her way.
This year, I gave in to my son, daughter, and granddaughter to use paper products for our Christmas meal, breaking a family tradition passed from Mother. They convinced me it was too much work to wash my prized Christmas dishes while cleaning up from our Christmas feast.
Happy New Year to all those loving, hardworking mothers who, like my mother, have made their families feel special in their own special way.