Christmas Cards From My Mother

Captain’s Log   5,954

My mom stopped sending me Christmas cards about ten years ago.  It was one of the first “slips” as she got older and more frail.  I remember the sadness in my heart the first year she forgot to send me a card.  And then the second year.  And on and on.

I realized I had lost that funny and tender part of my mother.  With each passing year, a bit more of her surrendered itself to the ethers of time.  It’s inevitable, but it still hurts to witness this.

So I gave up on the idea of getting cards from my mother.   Every year I would smile and go on with the business of the holidays.  My sister and I would call her on Christmas and have a nice chat.  Eventually, those chats got shorter and shorter, and we realized how much our mother no longer needed us.  She was completely and fully happy living in a small nursing home in Iowa.  That had become her community, and that was where she wished to spend her remaining time and energy.  It was not as if our mother no longer loved us.  It was different.  She no longer needed us.  She had set herself free – either consciously or unconsciously.

Our visits became more challenging.  We were fully aware when we had reached our limit with her and she really wanted us to go.  She would smile and hug and kiss us, and then she would happily return to her “tribe” inside the home.  She had a purpose there and she set about doing that job well.  It was an interesting metamorphosis.

Lo and behold, a woman who grew up in the house next to my childhood home friended me on Facebook last year.  She sent me a private message a few weeks ago and said she had something to send me in the mail.  Her envelop arrived on Saturday – containing her family holiday letter, a personal note, and two Christmas cards from my mother.  After she moved away and started her own family, my mother continued to stay in touch for a few years.  She sent her two Christmas cards that Leah tucked away and discovered this year.  The sweet young woman thought I would like to have them.

mom christmas car

Everybody called my mother Sis.  She was legendary in our small town.  She was born there and lived there her entire life.

So after all these years, I got some Christmas cards from my mother.  They weren’t  intended for me, but they are mine.  I never thought I would see a Christmas card signed by my mother resting in my mailbox.

Miracles happen.  People are kind.  People remember.

I cannot wait to show these to my sister.


Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

34 responses to “Christmas Cards From My Mother

  1. Susanna

    This is catch up on Paula night for me and I am having a grand time. This is the best story ever and I love how you wrote of the changing relationship with your mother. I would prefer that my mother do what your mother did. To attach to and benefit from who is living right there in front of her instead of pining away for her children who live far away. Makes me think of the old song (with a slight change), If you can’t be with the ones you love, love the ones you’re with.

  2. Miracles still happen when you recognize them 🙂

  3. Dear Poolie.;You have brought tears to my eyes. Please tell Leah thank you for me. Hugs to you from the beach too.

  4. Edie

    What a wonderful gift from the past for that neighbor to send.

  5. goatbarnwitch

    How wonderful this gift came to you it is nice to know people can have the kind heart to give such a gift

  6. Valerie

    Crying tears of empathy since we’re now going through the gradual loss of the person who is my mother. Funny, I saved a Christmas gift tag that Mom had put on a gift for Lauren (who she always referred to as her Guardian Angel). I think I’m going to use that tag this year on Lauren’s gift “from” Gram.

  7. You broke my crusty shell. Very sweet. Very sweet story indeed 🙂

  8. I think your mom was sending you and Barb a loving message through your sweet, and thoughtful neighbor. How special! I still have a few notes and papers my mother wrote in her declining years….I smile when I read her words and see her beautiful handwriting. I’m happy for both you and Barb.
    And I love the stories about her and especially the free samples your mother collected for the two of you for Christmas!

  9. Patty O'

    Sweet tears… As your mother learned to let go of her own past she also taught you and your sister how to let go of her. That is truly good parenting and a lesson for us all. That the gift came at this time is wonderful because now she WILL be with your this Christmas. Lovely.

  10. Joanie

    What a touching story! So nice of your childhood neighbor to think of such a thing!

  11. maryz

    What a special Christmas present!

  12. Ter

    I absolutely love this!

  13. Penny Tushingham

    That’s AWESOME!

  14. bholles

    How sweet. Cant wait to see them. I wont forget when she stopped sending us the free samples she had collected all year and wrapped them in paperbags with duct tape for our Christmas presents.

  15. What a thoughtful person!

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