It’s all about me you know?

I couldn’t even type that subject line with a straight face.  But I did buy a few gifts for myself today.  Our new boss nudged us out the door at 2 today.  I used that time to stop at the book store, Target, Hobby Lobby, Pier 1, not really needing to buy anything in particular, just having fun.

I have big plans for 2010, so I bought myself a nice planner to keep track of appointments, events and my life in general.  I have looked several places, even online, and this planner kept calling my name.  I had decided that I wanted to buy a few Christmas books and picked up Rick Warren’s The Purpose of Christmas, he is the author of  The Purpose Driven Life.  I also bought Debbie Macomber’s A Gift to Last, two short stories about Christmas.  I also bought myself a paint-by-number kit.  I can’t for the life of me explain that purchase, it just seemed like a fun thing to do and so it went into my cart.  I can remember Christmases long past finding paint-by-number pictures under the tree.  Maybe it was a brief wave of nostalgia, maybe it was just feeling the need to have something different to look forward to under the tree.

I’ve started a few new Christmas traditions this year, like watching Christmas movies non-stop for the last two weeks.  I am finding that they all have a happy ending, and are uplifting for this time of the year.  I’ve also added to my cardinal Christmas ornament collection.  Why cardinals?

Two years ago, I lost my mom on Christmas Eve…it was very hard, and even with all of these new traditions in my new corner of the world, I still have a deep sadness that she is gone.  It was hard to see her suffer, and I knew in my heart that she would either die on Christmas Eve or Christmas.  I believe she was waiting for my daughter to arrive from Hawaii, and for all of us to be together at the house.

My sister’s family, my daughters and I were there.  We enjoyed a holiday dinner, opened gifts and played games.  She was in the next room, but the nurse said she thought she was listening to her family those last moments of her life.  At one point, the nurse came over to my sister and I and said, “It’s time.”  We each stood on a side of her and held her hand, and talked to her about the craziness in the other room…and urged her to go.  We told her we would be ok, that it was time to end her suffering.

The view from my mother’s bed was of her beloved bird feeders.  In those last moments of her life a big fat red cardinal made his way to the feeder and was having his own Christmas banquet.  My sister and I both talked to her about the birds, and she was gone.  I think she died in the way that she would have wanted, with her family close by.

So, as I hang the cardinals on my tree, I think of her.  I’ve started accumulating a collection of birds that are placed around my apartment.  Growing up I can remember this branch that was spray painted white and tacked to the wall.  My mom had a collection of glass birds that clipped on the branches. That tree branch made many moves with us and over time all of the birds became lost and broken, but it’s a vivid memory to me even today.

Tomorrow night I will not be alone.  I am spending the evening and staying all night with my friend Carol, her fiancee Jeff and his son Alex. It will be a night of food,  laughter, games and friendship.  I need that to help me get through Christmas Eve.  It’s a bit like Thanksgiving for me, it holds lots of special memories of Christmas Eves spent with my daughters growing up.  Christmas Eve was the time we spent together as a family with our own traditions.  There were always board games under the tree, new pajamas and a special Christmas movie.  I would fix a table full of appetizers and we would play games and then settle down to watch a movie before bedtime.  I know that I did all that I could to make Christmas and especially Christmas Eve a memorable time for my family.

I miss my daughters, it’s been over a year since I have seen them.  I don’t plan on letting another year go by without seeing them.  I would like for them to come to my corner of the world, to see my life here..to see that I am happy…that I am still their mom, even if I am now in another part of the country.

I feel that I am living a life of abundance here in Texas.  Yes, there have been changes, and those changes have come with a price.  One day I hope that they will understand why I made the decisions that I did with my life.  I think I have raised them right, and one day they will understand.

I didn’t always understand my mom, and the decisions that she made in her life.  I know more than a few times I gave her a whole lot of grief, and I am sure I broke her heart more than a few times growing up.  I can remember some of those times pretty vividly looking back on life now.  But I know in my heart that she forgave me those small hurts, and that she was proud of the person that I became.  I also know that if she were alive, she would be just as proud of me today.  I feel that she is still with me as one of my guardian angels.

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.  ~Janice Maeditere

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.  ~Harlan Miller

I confessed at work not too long ago that I still believed in Santa.  That certainly made heads turn, and the room grew quiet.  I do believe in Santa and always will.  Santa is love..and I’ve also spent the last few weeks focusing on my favorite things–that aren’t actually things.  Christmas is not about things, it’s about love.

To my daughters Shelly & LeighAnna may you always have the wonder of Christmas that you had in those days of making gingerbread houses, baking rolled out sugar cookies, playing board games in front of the tree, snuggled up in “the nest” watching Christmas movies and waking up in the morning to stockings filled with packages wrapped in gold paper and more presents than could fit under the tree…I wish you the wonder of Christmas all year through.

Merry Christmas my friends..thank you for adding to my life each and every day…I look forward to seeing what sort of adventures 2010 has in store for all of us.

…tis the season, share the love…

Ann

3 thoughts on “It’s all about me you know?

  1. In a sense, Annie, it IS all about you…and all about each one of us.

    Every day we make individual decisions that others cannot legitimately make for us: to be happy or miserable, to accept or reject others, to be friendly or distant, to be generous or selfish. It’s OUR decision…and YOUR decision.

    It’s all about all of us, Annie, as we embrace values that are profound or shallow, enduring or faddish, focused on just ourselves or on others as well.

    It looks like you are making some exciting decisions which enable your life to have joy and purpose.

    Be ever prepared to answer the question, “Where will you be when you get to where you’re going?” Your decisions, our decisions, are never without consequence of some kind.

    Merry Christmas, TexAnnie…and Happy 2010!

  2. Cate, I look forward to seeing where both of us are in our lives at the end of 2010.

    JD, You have always known and understood what’s in my mind, what’s in my heart. Friends like that enter our lives and are there forever and my life is so much better with you as a part of it.

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