We’re having a quiet Christmas/birthday at the house today. Most people suspect it has to do with my Mom passing away; it’s an expectation people have of you when a major holiday comes and goes without a particular person around to share it with. It’s not true in this case. My Mom didn’t care much for Christmas although she loved a good present. She felt it was too commercialized and didn’t like feeling pressured to spend more money than she had. Being told who to spend money when she had no money dampened her spirits year after year.
She loved presents more than any person I ever met and every present she received was a treasure. She wasn’t the kind of person to “re-gift” or hold onto a present in hopes you can trade it away at a White Elephant party the following year. In fact, you’d never see your presents show up at a garage sale. Your present was paraded around, displayed, devoured and spoken of for weeks to come; it didn’t matter what it was. Presents made Mom happy – almost giddy with delight and I can’t think of a single person I know that loves presents as much as she did. The true Christmas gift with Mom was seeing her expression as she got that one thing she asked for months before.
Mom never hinted about what she wanted. She told you flat out and if you could order it online, she’d send you the link. Last year it was: “I want a La-dee-da shirt, In Cold Blood” and a “Howdy Doodie Sandwich Whistle tin”. The shirt was easy because it involved finding an embroiderer, the book wasn’t on her Amazon list so she couldn’t check the purchases, however the sandwich tin was on an auction that I knew Mom would watch closely. Mom liked a surprise, but she really liked knowing the most which is why it had always been a trick to surprise her – she wanted hints, she wanted to shake the gift, she wanted to open it 2 days early, because what’s 2 days really… For the auction, I had someone bid against me to throw Mom off and got a call a few hours before the auction closed closed saying “Beth, the tin is too expensive now. You can stop bidding.” I asked her who bought it and she replied, “some guy named Pipay Dinglemeyer.” That wasn’t the name; she’d completely butchered it so it was hard to not bust out laughing. “That’s quite a name.”
I miss my Mom, but no more today than any day. The truth of the matter is, I’ll miss her more come Oscar night. Now that was truly her “holiday”. And I’ll miss her when I enter the annual Oscar pool. I don’t have a clue who will win Best Cinematographer. Our ritual that involved 40 phone calls before the night was over is gone along with being able to call her to share something I’ve seen or read. Christmas… well, Christmas is just another day.