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.
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.