I received a few things in the mail today. And that just sent me over the edge or loneliness and nostalgia. I miss Oklahoma so much this year and I want to go to my Mema's house.
Every Christmas Eve we would go to Mema and Grandad's house. Every other year my cousins would be down from Indiana too. A few times they would even come back to my house to stay the night. It was so much magic.
Somehow Santa managed to make it to their house before dinner time and fill our stockings. Actually, truth be told, I think we understood that THOSE stockings were from Mema (Grandad was just there to eat the homemade candies Mema made.). The really exciting thing was that Mema felt office supplies were appropriate for a child's stocking. Paperclips, push pins, staples, etc... would fill the cheap red felt stockings with our names emblazoned in glitter glue. Once the stocking were empty I would don them like huge socks and traipse around the orange shag carpeting believing that it was as funny this year as it had been the 5 years before.
The fake tree had the same ornaments it always had, and I always helped decorate it on one of the Friday nights I stayed over. The house was full of homemade decorations from family and friends, and a few really cool store bought items (Mema and Grandad were just rolling in the dough in my eyes). And the candies I mentioned? White chocolate covered pretzels (my favorite), chocolate covered cherries, peanut brittle, fudge (omg, I so miss the fudge) and many other items all made from scratch.
We would have a nice meal that evening and open our gifts from them and head home early enough to not only get in bed before Santa was on his way, but also to be able to open that ONE gift from Mom and Dad.
I got to sleep in my brother's top bunk as a special treat. I learned later it was so he, being 7 years older than me, could prevent me from catching Santa at work.
I want to just throw in here that my home was decked out like a winter wonderland and each year it has gotten bigger and bigger, no matter how busy my mother is.
Then after the chaos of gift time (Santa does not wrap them, by the way) we would head back to Mema and Grandad's house for a huge Christmas dinner. Sometimes it was turkey, sometimes ham, but always the best mashed potatoes I have ever had to this very day and delicious buttery yeast rolls with plum jelly that to this day get me all giddy to remember.
Even after I was 6 and had learned a few 'truths' about Christmas, it didn't lose the magic. And now I have my own kids and its so amazing, most of the time. This year is different though. This year I am sharing my children with their father. This is turning out ok, though. We are actually cooking dinner together tonight. But home, that's Oklahoma, is so far away. Mema is in a nursing home for rehabilitation after a scary illness. Grandad is gone nearly 18 years now. The houses of my childhood are owned by others now. The shag carpet was torn up in my teenage years, to my relief at the time. (Though, the new carpet did not produce even half the static electricity as the shag did.)
There are the family members there, and future family members, that I am so far from. But I feel them all in my heart. And the memories of my Christmases past fill my heart and make this holiday joyous through even the worst times.
I love my friends and my family and hope you are all having a happy loving holiday wherever you are.