A Letter to the Mom I Miss at Christmas

I see you in my hands, shaped just like yours, when I’m wrapping presents. Well, attempting to wrap presents. I’m awful at it. My fingers just don’t move right. I can’t crease and fold the way it should be done. But it doesn’t matter really. The gifts get covered and there’s something to tear off, so mission accomplished.

Photo courtesy of Beth Pugh

I see you in store bought fruit cake, the kind most people snarl their nose at. You loved the stuff! I still can’t for the life of me figure out why. You eagerly took it off the hands of family members who couldn’t stand it. To this day, I can remember you spying said fruit cake on the table at Mamaw’s house on the way home one night. Our exit was delayed as you flipped on the light, pulled up a chair, unwrapped the cake, and happily started eating. I see fruit cake and have to smile, because I see you, too.

I see you in my son’s smile, the grandson you never got to meet. I look at the joy radiating from his angelic face and see you. He shares your smile, and your zest for life. He finds joy in everyday things I forget and take for granted. He reminds me not to. He reminds me to slow down, to play, to tickle, to skip, to live like a child. And when I do that, when I take a deep breath and let his joy wash away the stress of the day, I see his smile, really see it. I grab onto it with all my might, letting my heart absorb it in all its splendor and wonder. And there you are again.

Christmas will never be the same without you, Mom. I’d like to say it’s happiest time of the year like you’d want me to, but it’s not. It’s painfully beautiful. It’s dreadfully exciting. It’s achingly wonderful. And sometimes, it’s overwhelmingly grief filled. But I want you to know the grief doesn’t stay.

Because I see you, Mom.

I miss you more than ever at Christmas. But every year, the December wind blows in a lot more than snow and chills, more than Santa and his sleigh, even more than the loneliness I dread. On its breath it carries your love, the greatest gift you could ever give me. And every year for the rest of my life, it will be the gift I look forward to the most.

And every Christmas it will be the gift I always wanted and exactly what I need.

***

Post shared by Beth Pugh, published with permission. 


PREVIOUS
Previous articleI Was Trying to Teach My Kids Generosity, But I Wasn’t Ready for This
Next articleYoung Pastor and Wife Die in Car Crash Days Before Christmas; Couple’s Newborn Survives
Beth Pugh
Beth Pugh is a wife and mother searching for contentment among the chaos. She writes stories with heart like baby bear soup hoping to inspire others with her words. She has been published by The Good Men Project, Scary Mommy, Sasee, The Sun Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Lexington Herald-Leader, and On Parenting at The Washington Post. Her debut novel, The Valentine Proposal, releases on February 1st, 2022 and is now up for pre-order. When she isn’t writing, you can find her cheering for the Chicago Cubs or curled up with an e-book on the couch.