Christmas at Lowe’s
I knew it would happen- Thanksgiving is not yet here, but Christmas has come to Birmingham. Dan and I made our weekly pilgrimage to Lowe’s to, as we jokingly say, “buy more things we don’t need with money we don’t have”. When you live in a house that’s almost a century old, you make a lot of little trips to Lowe’s. It’s sort of like mini-Snickers bars- they are small, so you don’t realize the million calories you are consuming…or the plethora of money spent to fix this and that shopping weekly at Lowe’s. Dan’s mantra…”One time expense!”
This trip to Lowe’s was a bit different, though, as the Christmas decorations had been amassed in the garden center. I wasn’t quite ready for the emotional impact of seeing Christmas on steroids as we entered by the ivy and wind chimes. Music from ‘The Nutcracker’ played, colorful lights and ornaments sparkled everywhere in the huge space…and there were snowmen…lots of them. I felt the prickle of tears, the stab of missing my mother- especially at her favorite time of the year. Heavy D embraced Christmas with the unbridled enthusiasm of a child, and had, for all of my fifty-one years, brought the magic of the season to life for me. This year, I would have to find the magic by myself.
I trailed after Dan, who was lost in the delight of animatronics and special lighting effects. I stopped here and there, touching snowmen, deep in memories. Dan turned and caught my mood, hugging me close. “I know, Honey, I miss her, too. Hey, remember the Christmas when….”, and off he launched into a funny Mom story. Dan is so grounded, so good at bringing me back to a better place. I wiped away my tears and began to laugh, began to add my own stories to the pile. This is it, I thought to myself- this is the key to embracing this first holiday without Mom; stories. Remember the magic, the laughter, the touching moments. Each holiday made so special by my wacky mom…each holiday still to have magic in store for us. Some of it the magic of memories and gratitude, some of it our own magic, the stuff of our love, friendship, and the holiday memories we have created in our home together.
I looked around the huge commercialized room, filled to the brim with everything Christmas you could imagine, and I sent up a prayer of thanks for so much love, so many happy memories of past Christmases thanks to my mother’s gleeful spirit. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with sadness, I felt full of joy, full of the Christmas spirit, full of my mother’s love. Mom was here in this red and green chaos, and she was smiling.