Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Christmas Gifts, From Mom

One of the reasons I blog is for the documentation and archival aspects. I've already gone back and reminisced reading Autumn Weekends with Mom, trying to assure myself that I made the most of our year together post-diagnosis. And I like imagining that our daughter will one day read this blog. She may not be interested until she's older, but if I had something similar written by my Mother or Grandmother, I certainly would. 

In doing so, I hope she will have just a glimpse into the planning and effort that went into trying to have her, and all of the excitement and anticipation surrounding her arrival. After IVF failed the first time, Mom told me "I'm going to hold that baby!" I want Autumn, as we have taken to calling her, to know how loved and wanted she was, even before we received that positive test. And how overjoyed my Mom was when I told her I was pregnant, both of us silently knowing and wishing that she could be here for more. 

A few weeks before Christmas, my Dad told me he asked Mom what to get me. My heart skipped a beat. Then he said "When you've been married as long as we have, you know what the other person would say." He wanted me to know that the gifts I was going to receive, for our baby girl, were from both of them.

Christmas Eve came, and traditionally we open one present. Dad knew the package, and handed me one wrapped in paper different from everything else under the tree. Inside were the most darling pink leather baby booties, with roses for Mom.


On Christmas morning, I did my best to cook up some sausages like Mom did, but they weren't as good. There was an emptiness in the air and in our hearts. The first holiday without a loved one is something to get through, not enjoy. But we did our best, as Mom would have wanted, and having this baby girl to look forward to helped. In my darkest days of grief, she is a bright spot.

I feel like the gifts that Dad picked out and had imported from England really were something Mom would have chosen. I will pack these away when she outgrows them, and like to imagine that Autumn may pass them on to her girl one day.






The mittens, booties and cap from Bonnie Baby are Cashmere, and super soft. She's all set for her baptism with the christening shawl and bonnet, which has intricate bead work on it. She will wear my gown, which Mom saved.

Another Christmas tradition in our family is that after all of the gifts have been opened, there's a special one, the best of all, from Santa. Sometimes it's hidden, or in another room. One year, a bike was left up on the roof, because Santa couldn't fit it down the chimney.

As in years past, this last gift was the most special. "Santa" had developed 15 rolls of film on disposable cameras that all belonged to Mom. When I switched to digital cameras around 2003, Mom's complaint was that the photos were never printed. So when we had an event or special occasion, she bought a disposable camera. It was amazing to look through the hundreds of pictures, most of them taken by her. Here are a few of few of my favorites. 


Her favorite Saint, Blessed St. Martin

I received that Tiffany anchor necklace that year, along with a note I saved that said I was the anchor of the family.
This was a dirt field when she started. Avenue G, Yucaipa.
Joking about having a double chin in photos. I miss her laugh, but can almost hear it when I look at this.

2 comments:

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    1. Thank you Michelle. I don't look at a beautiful sunset without thinking of Chandler & Paisley. I like to imagine that Mom is up there with them - she loved babies.

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