It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees. Do you know that Joni Mitchell song? “I wish I had a river I could skate away on?” It’s such a sad song, and not really about Christmas at all, but I was thinking about it tonight as I was decorating my Christmas tree and unwrapping funky ornaments made of Popsicle sticks, and missing my mother so much I almost couldn’t breathe.
Kathleen Kelly, You’ve Got Mail
There’s certain films that link to certain feelings. Mum and I will often watch The American President while doing craft stuff around her dining room table. I imagine come March next year we’ll be watching it while making my birthday party invites. One of the Twilight films was the first one that Our Sidekick and I saw at the cinema together and although it’s not one I’d sit down and just watch because I wanted a movie to see it still has that place in my heart so to speak. The opening speech to Love Actually always comes back to me around September 11, it makes me think of the fact that no matter what has happened those people at the arrivals gate are so pleased so see their loved ones and that those messages left on voicemails all over the place were messages of love not hate. Then there’s Christmas and although I love Christmas movies and could watch ones like It’s A Wonderful Life, over and over again until I can quote them the one that comes to me around this time is You’ve Got Mail.
One of my besties is currently in New York working at Columbia University and I am soo unbelievably proud of all that she’s achieved since we left school. She lives near Riverside Gardens which appears at the end of the film and we talk that when I end up in New York she’s taking me for coffee at the cafe that Joe and Kathleen are supposed to meet in but don’t in a way – if you haven’t seen it you have to see it and then it will all make sense. But each time it’s nearly time for her to come home for Christmas I end up watching You’ve Got Mail (or if I’ve been rubbish I watch it the night before we’re due for our catch up!). She’s due to get her flight in less than 24 hours and so I’m just a bit excited to see her.
Anyway, I’m sat here listening to Christmas music and doing work and thinking about what else is happening in the next week or so until Christmas and then I got thinking about past Christmases. I got thinking about Grandma. Each Christmas as we grew up Grandad and her would come and see Richard and I in the Sunday School Nativity. They’d squeeze in to what was nearly always a packed chapel and they’d sit there beaming – the proud grandparents. We’d finish the service and we’d get the tightest proudest hugs ever.
As we got older and were no longer part of the Sunday School they would still come to the carol service but our roles all changed. Richard would help with sound or the words as was needed. I’d be out in the kitchen making cups of tea and serving mince pies.
Grandma would come and help me in the kitchen with the crazy amount of washing up that there would be. We would put the world to rights while stood there doing what we needed to.
In 2008 she had a stroke and passed away the same day. It was about 2 or 3 weeks after the Harvest Supper at Chapel and we’d stood in the kitchen at Chapel and had done our usual update. I can’t remember what we talked about but I’m guessing it was how work was going and how Chris was and those kind of things. She’d tell me stories about Dad when he was younger and usually they made me laugh heartily. Then she was gone, unexpectedly just like that.
But why am I reminiscing? Why the quote from You’ve Got Mail? Because yes I think about her everyday, some days it’s so hard. Two Christmases ago we would have talked about expecting Jaxon and how he’d be her first Great Grandchild, she’d probably have got out her knitting needles and would have had the first project completed by my next scan in February. I imagine she’d have been bursting with pride and telling anyone and everyone that she was going to be a great grandparent (and they’d probably comment how she didn’t seem old enough to be a g-g-parent). I imagine that when we’d have seen each other she’d have talked to the bump even if it was the middle of the street and there were people watching – she wouldn’t have cared. I imagine that she’d have been round for cuddles that first week I was home from hospital and she’d pop in for a cuppa every week or two for her latest Jaxon update. I imagine that she’d be sat in her favourite comfortable chair with her knitting pattern next to her and now she has two great grandsons she would be knitting like a crazy lady knocking out the latest Great Grandma creation for Christmas presents or just because she felt like it. It was Jaxon this and Baby TT that, she’d just be so proud and so excited.
At silly as it might seem I wanted to type this out. I think I’ve got bogged down in what’s good enough to post – so each week there are less and less posts because I’m not sure they are good enough. But I decided to go back to my roots so to speak. Open a browser or a word document and beat it out. Let’s do it, let’s spread what’s going on in my heart and my brain.