Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mom's last Christmas Gift

As of 7:30pm tonight we’d had 2.7” of snow. Why is this a big deal? We live just outside of Atlanta. Georgia. In the Deep South. According to a local news source, Atlanta hasn’t had snow that stuck since the 1880s. This winter we had a trackable snow on the 12th and now a full scale snow fall on Christmas Day. The first white Christmas in over 100 years. My son has been excited all day and nearly vibrating with interest in the cold white stuff.

Growing up in Illinois, you would think that white Christmases were the norm. They aren’t. Central Illinois doesn’t normally see more than a faint trackable snow in December. Trackable refers to the fact that if a rabbit ran through it, it would leave tracks you could follow. Our real snows don’t generally fall until January and especially February. So white Christmases were special for us, especially for my mother.

My mom loved all things Christmas. The weeks from Halloween to New Years were her favorite time of the year, culminating in Christmas. As a family, we women went shopping on Black Friday and it kicked things off for us. Christmas was very much about family and all things traditional Christmas. The tree went up on the Friday after Thanksgiving and came down New Years. Lights bedecked the house, indoors and out. Old movies such as Miracle on 34th Street were playing in the background on a continuous loop. And snowmen were everywhere. She loved and collected Frosty in all his incarnations.

My mom loved snow. She always dreamed of taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the falling snow. Each year she watched for all the folksy indicators and focused on the nightly weather report waiting to see if we would have a white Christmas. When I moved south she would call every time they had snow to ask if we were coming up any time soon. Once my son was born she was especially interested to know if we were planning on coming up for the holidays and even more vigilant about the weather to see if he would have snow for our visits.

My mom passed away a few weeks ago. It snowed heavily the day she died and we had five inches of snow in Illinois for her funeral. The flowers that were sent by those who knew her all shared the Christmas theme in honor of her love of the season. The topiary we picked out from the grandchildren was adorned with a stuffed snowman. I didn’t take my son. He’d just turned two and we felt he was too young for the 9 hour trip plus he was too young to sit through the funeral and all the planning we would have to do.

Today is Christmas and I honestly believe we all received her last Christmas gift. All of her children and grand children (except the ones who live in Florida) have had a white Christmas. My son played in more snow than he’s ever seen and there will be even more on the ground for him in the morning. So tomorrow, along with all his other Christmas gifts, my son will get to play again with his grandma’s last Christmas present—something that will make all future white Christmases, rare or not, even more precious.

***Update Even the grandkids in Florida saw flurries. Mom must have been working hard.