Christmas Eve

The day started out normally. It felt like Saturday, though, Saturday on a Monday. If only that could happen more often, having Saturday. More than once a week would be nice.

My friend, Hal, and I went mountain biking to continue the positive feelings from yesterday. I brought my Specialized hardtail to ride, the one I have been celebrating so much lately. Not only is it nice to ride, but today it was the Christmas bike because of its colors:

We rode an easy trail in the desert, part of one of the county parks that we are so lucky to have here in Arizona. The trail wound in and out of the terrain which included plants like these:

It was a spirited, fun, easy ride, and after it was over, Hal loaded the bikes onto the car.

Then we went to lunch at one of our favorite places, Paradise Bakery. I especially relished a pasta salad, which I normally don’t eat. But today was a day of throwing out the limitations of normal day-to-day life.

This afternoon I cleaned the house, and tried something new to help my sweet big dog, Emma, who has a torn ACL in her left hind leg. I tried wrapping it so she could go play outside in the yard, but not injure the ACL further. The wrap seemed to work, so I ran down to the pet store to get a self adhering wrap. I was too nervous to use the little clips that come with Ace bandages, or to hold it together with safety pins. That’s all I would need, to lose another dog.

As the evening goes on, I become more and more painfully aware of the loss of my Mom this year. I still find it hard to believe that she is not here, and we will never have one of those quiet but festive Christmas Eves at my parents’ home. We used to eat many of our favorite foods, just a little of each, and then sit and listen to music, the room darkened but lit softly by the Christmas lights. It was a beautiful, pleasant time that now will never be again.

Usually on this night I am happy and glowing, waiting for the Christmas magic to happen. The only magic I hope for now is for next year to be better than this one. I lost my Mom, my friend lost his son, and last week my husband and I lost our beloved little dog. It has not been a good year for any of us, and I want it be mercifully over so we can all try to pick up the pieces and move on. It will never be the same, and the pieces will never fit together in quite the same way again.

I sit and listen to the wonderful music coming from the TV (for a change), watch the talented musicians. A pretty young singer finishes the chorus and smiles, probably to family in the audience. It’s a bittersweet and poignant moment for me, remembering when my life used to be carefree and lovely, my small family was intact, and I didn’t have to worry about too many things.

I look at the soft glow of the lights around me. I am waiting for the magic, and maybe this year the magic is knowing that my Mom is somehow here with me enjoying this music, too. She just has to be.


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