Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Have I done the best I could?

I was talking with a friend tonight and we were tennis-matching back and forth truths about ourselves. I admitted to not being very fond of Christmas. He joked that either I'd had a miserable childhood or I didn't have cable television. I told him that Christmases when I was a child were great. But Christmas 1989 was the last really great Christmas I'd had. He asked me if I'd tried to recreate those good Christmases with my own family. I answered that I had, but felt like I'd fallen far short of my goal.

Now that I've had a little time to gnaw on it, I really wonder if I've tried all that hard afterall.

Christmases when I was a kid were SO crazy. I remember playing with my cousins and eating tons of great food and making audio tapes of all of our clan singing Christmas carols for my aunt who lived in California and couldn't be there with us. I remember the sheer number of people and the chaos that resulted from it all. I can't do that myself. I can buy great presents for my kids. I can cook a great meal. I can invite family & friends to my house. I can start Christmas traditions for my family, but I can't recreate the things that made my Christmases so great as a kid.

That's something only my mom could do.

And I miss her.

God, I miss her.

We're talking about a woman who sacrificed SO much for me...everyday of her life she sacrificed for me. She always went without things so that I had what I need and wanted. She knew what the cancer took from her, but she was much more aware of what it took from me and she tried to make up for it in so many ways.

I remember one of her last Christmases, she went on this big charade to surprise me with a Happy Holidays Barbie doll. I'd seen the picture of the doll in a magazine and as a huge Barbie girl, I fell in love with the blonde beauty in the red ball gown. I carried the picture around with me for weeks and weeks. I was too old to play with Barbies anymore, but I couldn't help wanting that doll. She was beautiful. My mother worked at Target that year and she managed to snatch one of the limited edition dolls that came in and she hid it from me and surprised me with it on Christmas. I still have that Barbie, but I will always cherish the memory more than the doll. It was symbolic of what my mother was...constantly selfless.

My mother was no saint. And I recognize that. She was a real person with real faults...but if there is one quality I wish I could draw from her, it's the selflessness she had.

When I remember those times, I really have to ask myself, have I done the best I could? And I have to answer "No."

Sometimes the truth hurts.

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