Last night, we returned from our Thanksgiving trip to see two sides of the family. After (actually before) the unpacking was done, I declared that I was in no mood for Christmas. I did not want to decorate, I did not want to bake any damn cookies and I did not want to throw our annual Christmas party.
Don't know for sure.
I'm known to make anniversaries out of bad times. And this year is no different. Last Sunday was one year since my mother's kidney failure. We spent last Thanksgiving around the dining table while my mother was in the hospital. Every thing I did to "celebrate" the season last year was done in a haze of misery. I slogged through hosting the party, baking cookies, making fudge, and wrapping gifts that I was not certain would ever be seen by my mother. They weren't.
This year does not seem to be more promising.
My dad's cancer is believed to have spread. Tests done this December will confirm the path it has taken. My father-in-law is now in a nursing home after a recurrence of his lung cancer. Nothing will be done except to relieve pain.
Sometimes it feels hard to move, even harder to be festive.
While we were in my mother-in-law's home yesterday morning, my daughter spies knitting needles and a small ball of yarn on her side table. Attached is a small swatch of knitted yarn. My daughter asks her how to knit.
My mother knit. Somewhere in my archives is a post about it. She knit like a fiend. Like yarn was crack. My daughter watched her knit but never asked her how to do it. I certainly never asked. For me, knitting would be like asking to have my eye put out. Or both eyes. I am not a careful person.
But there sat the yarn AND a grandmother.
After my mother's death, I discovered several unfinished knitted blankets and scarves, some were nearing completion, some were far from it. My mother-in-law offered to finish off any raw edges so I could put some blankets to use and distribute the others to my family. Some were of a size only suitable to small dolls or stuffed animals. My mother-in-law is noted for beginning some projects and letting them languish for years. She is also noted for working like a demon on other projects and completing them in record time. This project was one of the latter.
And so, almost a year later, there on the table were my mother's knitting needles and yarn. With 20 minutes of patience on the side of both grandmother and granddaughter, there is a new knitter in the family. Last night, she asked me if my mother had one of those row counters. We dug out her knitting bag and found one and all sorts of other knitting goodies.
Here I sit in the dining room, clacking away on the laptop. There is my daughter in the living room, knitting needles clacking away.
I'm beginning, just beginning, to feel a bit more festive. I want my daughter to feel the joy of this time of year, even though I might not be feeling it. Yet. I will do my best not to show her how miserable a large part of me is. I know there are plenty of Christmas's past where my parents and my husband's parents have done the same.
Her smile will make me happy and her joy over the approaching holiday will cheer me. And the sound of my mother's knitting needles is already doing a great deal to improve my mood.