I have finished up the semester, submitted my final grades, and sent my students off to enjoy their holiday. At first I didn’t know how to act – even after thirty years’ worth of finishing semesters. You get used to the getting up early and rushing off to school, rushing from one thing to the next, and it’s hard to find your off switch- or at least the slow down switch. I’ve been so looking forward to this day, though, the true end of the semester and the beginning of the holiday. I absolutely love what I do, but I am also grateful for the recharge time that the holidays afford. Maybe especially so after these packed few months.
There are so many things I hope to accomplish over the break, but have promised myself that some time will be spent just puttering around the house. One of those “puttering” goals involves finally going through Mom’s mahogany chest of drawers. So many treasures lie within those drawers, treasures of remembrance, of a life. Oh, I’ve gone into the chest to look for specific things, but I’ve not taken the time to go through each drawer and really see what is there. I haven’t been ready- or maybe I’ve just been afraid of what emotions going through things carefully would bring to the surface.
From my earliest memories, I remember Mom prowling around in her chest of drawers. She hid Christmas gifts in it, stored trinkets and photos, jewelry, and, of course, her clothes. Always in the largest drawer would be at least one beautiful nightgown, robe, and matching slippers. She would never ever wear the set, saying they were for “the hospital,” her insurance for not going there for as long as I can remember. I used to tease her, asking her if she planned to look like Za Za Gabor. She could have carried it off, I have no doubt.
The treasures held in the chest of drawers were many. I was grateful to find that most of them brought smiles and not tears…most of them. There were photos of me in much younger days…
Mom is the adorable little blonde girl in the middle of the photo below…
I was reminded of how sentimental she was. She had kept everything that my sister and I had given to her or written her from our earliest days, along with cards and photos from her children, grandchildren, dear friends, and from her beloved ‘Space People’ Facebook friends. There were recipes, trinkets, costume jewelry, pieces of things that meant something to her, and tons of photos that she had taken- a big hobby of hers (I am just like her)…many of which sported her finger in the top corner. Oops. I found her purse and wallet, along with the bag I had carried things home in from the hospital. I was so out of it that day- the bag still contained a bottle of water, along with paperwork. A day frozen in time.
It was good to see that I’ve healed quite a bit in the two and a half years since she died, that smiles won over tears. I was reminded how very much I am like my mother in so many ways as I went through each drawer, and that warmed my heart. What a gift to know that Mom will always be with me through the love we shared and the memories we built. The chest of drawers will continue to hold treasures of Mom’s, but now it will hold some of mine, too. Perhaps they are one and the same- a Christmas gift from Mom to me.