Christmas eve has to be my favorite day of the year, hands down. Or, well, it used to be.
When I was little, from my earliest that I can remember, Christmas eve, (among other time, lots of other times) was spent with my Grandparents (Mema and Grandpa). We even went to Florida one year to visit them for Christmas and when we got home to my beloved Pittsburgh, we had presents under the tree! Santa came while we were gone! That is why to this day, at 43, I still believe in Santa. But I digress. Christmas has always been, for me, family, mainly Mema.
I don't know when it started, but after Mass, we would go to Mema's. She made the traditional Croatian, Christmas Eve dinner. We fasted from meat so the meal was yucky. lol It was Christmas bean soup type thingy over little bread balls with cottage cheese. See, yucky. And, since my sister and I never ate it, my Grandpa would order a Vincent's (the worlds best, although now defunct, pizza) cheese pizza just for us.
As the years have come and gone, my very favorite Christmas eve was when I was a teenager. I'm not sure how hold I was. Mema and Grandpa had six kids. Four boys and two girls. I've got a myriad of cousins that even though we lived not too far away, we never really got to see. Maybe once every couple years. This particular year four of the six kids with there families came to Mema's. (Note, Grandpa was still alive and kicking at this point. In fact, he wouldn't pass for many, many years, however, it was and is always called Mema's :D ) Then, Mema used to do this neat thing where she would order surprise boxes from the postal service. They were full of odds and ends and sometimes, junk lol. Mema would wrap it all in newspaper, then all the kids would pick a number and viola, a fun game! lol We got potato peelers, spatulas and cameras that you'd probably find at the dollar store today. It was always full of fun and laughter. Having almost the entire family there at Mema's made the small house a lot warmer and not just in my heart. Dude, you did not need the heat turned on! It remains my favorite Christmas to this day.
As the years passed and I grew up, we stopped fasting and Mema would make a ham for everyone, but I like to think it was mainly for my sister and me. Through moves and miles, even if I wasn't there, Christmas eve, for me, would be about Mema. I'd always call and the phone would get passed around and it would tear my heart out, in a good way.
Mema has been gone now for too many years than I'd like to remember, even if it is still under five lol. And, this day, as much as I love it. it just breaks my heart. I can't call her and tell her Merry Christmas. I can't make her laugh, I can't hear her laugh. My heart is so filled with missing her that it's about to burst.
I also miss my Mommy most at Christmas time. She's alive and in Myrtle Beach. And, I only get to see her every couple of years. Which is not nearly enough for me. However, I miss her most at Christmas time. There's this movie we used to watch as a kid Little Lord Fauntleroy. At the end of the movie (sorry to spoil it if you haven't seen it) the little boys mother comes out from behind the tree on Christmas day. Every year, Every. Single. Year. I wait in great hopes that my mom will come out from behind my tree. Even though I'm 43. Even though I talk to her and know her Christmas plans. Even though I know she's not coming...the little girl in me, who misses her mommy something fierce, secretly hopes (well not so secret now) that she'll be behind the tree.
I am no different Christmas eve then I am the other 364 days of the year. The moon rules the tide. My heart rules me. So, I will have a good cry. Enjoy Christmas Mass with my family, and make memories for my wonderful children. Thank you all for being here for me. It's been quite a year from graduation to new jobs and everything in between. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of new years!
Until next time,
Hug everyone you meet.