Saturday, December 11, 2010

Preparing for Christmas

When I was young, my family would take a long 24 hour car trip to Louisiana on Christmas to visit my Papaw and Mamaw. We would arrive very late in the evening. My grandparents lived in the country. 

It was somewhat intimidating for a little girl from the Ohio suburbs. It was black as night can ever be. No city street lights lit up the Louisiana bayou country roads. The tired little city girl that I was, inquisitively peaking out the car window to find that there were curious creepy eyes from a numerous variety of critters all peaking just as curiously back at me. Just when it was starting to feel more like Halloween, I would see in the distance, the bright, shining, warm ,tiny home of my Mamaw and Papaw. No matter how late we got there, everyone was still up waiting for us. We'd drive up and pile out of our car, my bare feet stepping right out into chicken poop but who cares! We were home for Christmas!
The Wright's, my father's family would all come running out of the house, laughing, loving, hugging and expressing their joy in just how much I had grown. My Mamaw with her cup in her hand would always proclaim with a long slow Louisiana drawl the initials to my father's name, "Jaaaay- Dubb-Aah- Ya" and with tears in her eyes declare, "I cried a cup full a tears worrying and waiting for you to get here."

The little Louisiana shack would be decorated with lights from top to bottom and every area of the kitchen lined with Christmas candy, cakes, pies and yummy sweet southern hospitality. We could feel it, we knew that everyone had been waiting and preparing for weeks for us to come.

My mother also prepared for Christmas in a similar manner and later on as an adult, I would always gain at least 10 pounds in each visit. She made a gooey delicious fruit cake of real cherries and nuts. She labored for weeks in advance over a variety of homemade fudge, rum balls, candy, pies and cakes as well as the most mouth watering turkey and dressing anyone could ever bake. She prepared in anticipation for me and my family to drive down the lane and the same welcome of  warm hugs and love would ring out.

Unfortunately, at the moment Mom doesn't really look forward to Christmas or any other holiday for that matter. All the activity and changes in routine are more upsetting than they are enjoyable. Her stroke causes her to have trouble swallowing the Christmas goodies and knowing my mom as I do, it takes all the fun out of it when she can't give of herself or do any of the cooking. Frankly, she's been going through one of those "no" phases lately when you just can't really ever make her smile. It's been one of those weeks where I wander cheerless from her room, down the hall to the nurses station and state my all too familiar frustrations. "Please have the doctor call me on Monday, her meds need tweaked again. Nothing makes her happy and she's driving me crazy!"

The road is dark for her, there are scary creatures along the way but we know that a wonderful place is being prepared for her. Someday, somewhere else, she will be happy again and filled with joy. Her family and loved ones will all run out to meet her. Yes, there's comfort in that thought.

If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3

Happy Holidays! Enjoy them while you have them, young and old!

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