Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmastime odds & ends

  • En route to our oldest nephew's 22nd (!!) birthday party recently, sitting beside me in the back seat of our car (while dh drove with his dad in the passenger seat beside him), stepMIL handed me a loosely wrapped package. "For the baby," she said (meaning Katie). "I got ones for the boys [i.e., our nephews], & for my grandson too." Inside were two sort of woven-wickerish tree ornaments. One was a glittering gold crucifix, the other a glittering teal blue-green butterfly. (I wish I'd thought to take a photo of them hanging on our tree before we left that I could show you here.) I don't think stepMIL has any inkling about the significance butterflies have for dh & me, and for the other bereaved parents we know, but it could have been a moose for all I cared. The point was this: she thought about our daughter, & not only that, she let us know that she remembered. She treated our daughter the same way as her other grandchildren (step- & genetic). It's not the first time she's done this, either: there are two other ornaments on our tree (both glass balls with painted angels on them) that she has given us in years past, "for the baby." StepMIL has her faults, but I am eternally grateful to her on this point.
  • My dad was wiping his eyes as we came into view on the escalator into the arrivals area at the airport this weekend. He is 71, & was recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. The dr said it was simply a matter of aging (although I'm sure being a lifelong smoker doesn't help). He & my mom are at a funeral right now for a friend, who died at 59 after a 15-year on & off battle with cancer. Another reminder (as if I needed one) that none of us are getting any younger, & our time together is to be treasured.
  • I am having a good vacation so far. It has been cold & snowy, but it's supposed get warmer & sunnier over the next few days (& isn't Christmas supposed to be cold & snowy anyway?). We have decorated the tree (& I've sniffled over the old familiar ornaments, & the box with our old letters to -- & from! -- Santa that's stored with the tree ornaments), finished & sent my Christmas cards, stayed up late (playing lots of cards & dominos), slept in, helped my mom bake, & probably gained about 10 pounds already from all the fabulous food hanging around. Saturday night we had asparagus chicken (my dad's version of a soupcan recipe!); Sunday night we had roast beef with my mom's fabulous gravy; last night, we had this amazingly tasty ham with scalloped potatos, green bean casserole AND perogies. Calories don't count when they're eaten at your Mom's, right??
  • I'm also trying to catch up on some reading -- books, as well as blogs! -- & am finding unexpected references to pregnancy loss everywhere. More later, once I finish the book!
  • The neighbours are expecting their two grandsons (one about 2 & the other about 6 months) for Christmas, & PND will be hosting her new nephew (oh yeah, & his parents, lol) on Boxing Day. I have no doubt we will be invited over to see them all. Both looking forward to it and bracing myself. Especially for my grandchildless mother's reaction. (Ouch.)
  • As I type, I am watching Ali MacGraw on Oprah. She is 71 now (!) -- older than my mother! -- & her face is lined -- she obviously has not caved to the pressure to have plastic surgery. I think she still looks beautiful. She was just talking about how women are fed this message that your life is basically over at 40 or 50. "What a gyp," she said. I -- less than a month away from my 50th birthday -- wanted to stand up & cheer. Thank you, Ali!


  1. Merry Christmas, Loribeth! How very thoughtful of your stepMIL to give you ornaments for your Katie tree.

    I have finished my pre-holiday ritual of reading all the Christmas scenes in the Little House books and am now moving on to the Anne series. Thinking of you!

  2. Wow. The story about your stepMIL made me cry. Her gift was so thoughtful. I'm so glad that she remembered and honored Katie like that.

  3. What a beautiful thing for your MIL to do. People could have all the faults in the world for me, as long as they occasionally remembered my angels...

    I had tears in my eyes reading about your Dad having tears in HIS eyes!! I'm missing my beloved Dad alot this Chrissie.

    And yes you're right, Christmas should be cold and snowy - we're heading for 102.2 for Christmas day, wrong just wrong!


  4. that's so nice of your sMIL. do post pics when you get back!

    have a restorative holiday

  5. I'm so glad your stepMIL remembers. And makes a point of letting you know she remembers. That's so important, and so few people know that.

    Glad you're having a good time. Hmmm - neighbours on Boxing Day. I know the feeling of looking forward to something and bracing yourself at the same time. Usually I find that the anticipation is worse than the reality. I hope that's the case for you.

    Merry Christmas, Loribeth. I'm so glad I found you this year.

  6. What a sweet thing of your step-MIL to do! She must either be incredibly empathic or have had her own experience of "hidden" loss - it is such a thoughtful and important gesture to make.

  7. So glad that your step-MIL remembers along with you and your husband.

    Hope your Christmas was wonderful.