Eleven. 11. XI. Part 2.

Eleven. 11. XI. Part 2.

I have seen death. I have held it in my arms. 

I have seen the beauty that comes after the darkness.

I have seen the light that shines brightly on those who remember. 

I have witnessed the transition from a perfect child to a perfect angel. 

I have seen death. I have held it in my arms. 

I have experienced the most perfect love. I continue to hold it in my heart.

 

I love Me wm

Happy 11th Angel Day, Charlie.

The Coat Closet

After my Grannie died in September, the big challenge was obviously going through the house where she and my Grandaddy had lived for 50+ years. Her house was meticulously organized, even her extra bedroom-turned-closet.

One of the first things my mom and aunt tackled was the large collection of linens. It was no secret that Grannie loved linens. Tablecloths, napkins, towels, OMGTHEHANDTOWELS, sheets, and comforters. They kept the ones they wanted for themselves and gave the others away to places that might be able to use them.

The other thing that was no secret that my Grannie AND Grandaddy shared a love for was their collection of coats, jackets, and sweaters. There were dozens, if not over a hundred. Because living in Southwest Central Georgia requires a large collection of winter wear.

Whatever: old people get cold.

Anyway, there was a large collection. None of the grandchildren wanted or needed any of the items and neither did my mom or aunt. They would be better served with people who truly needed them.

A little before Christmas, my mom and aunt packed them up and my mom rode around with them in her car for a while. Right before our first big winter storm of this year (who knew), I told her she needed to look for a coat closet of some sort to give them to or take them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. People NEEDED the coats and she had them all in her car.

She called around to different churches, asking if they had a ministry that would take them. They all sent her to another church and another and another. Nobody had a coat ministry.

Finally, my mom got a man on the phone at a church that said, “Yes ma’am, come on and bring them to me at your convenience.”

So she did.

When she arrived at the church, the ladies in the office were very confused. Apparently they didn’t have a coat closet ministry, and my mom must surely have the wrong church. They talked back and forth for a few minutes, wondering who my mom confused them with, when they heard a man’s voice from the back office.

“Is that the lady with the coats?”

Even more confused, they answered, “Yes,” and he came to greet my mom.

The ladies kept on, “But we don’t HAVE a coat ministry, Pastor. Did you really talk to her?”

“Ladies,” he said. “We’ve never had a coat closet, but there’s a need for one. She has coats to give us, so we now have a coat closet ministry.”

Before my mom left, he shared a few more words with him. He told her, “God provided the coats for the closet; now He will direct us to the need for them.”

And so the coat closet ministry at that church was started.

And so it ever shall be.

Amen.

Just Write: The Doctor’s Office

Yesterday, I was sitting in the pediatrician’s office, waiting for a consultation with Henry’s doctor. He wasn’t with me. So I was the lone mother sans child in the well waiting room. Even though the waiting room was the “well” one, there were still people hacking and there’s technically no wall separating the “sick” from the “well” so I’m unsure how that works. Germs just know which side to stay on?

Anyway, when I sat down, I realized there was a baby crying in one of the rooms. It was loud and screechy and muffled. I tried to drown it out by watch Cars on the big screen and by watching the little guy next to me walk across the chairs all proud-like while his mother stood anxiously by his side waiting for him to fall.

The screaming didn’t stop. I take that back, the baby did stop for a second. And then started a wailing, sad cry. My heart fluttered.

I recognized the feeling. I didn’t like it.

The couple sitting by me was discussing their household budget. I tried to listen to them discuss their mortgage, phone bills, school tuition, and whatnot instead of listening to the crying. But it didn’t help.

There was a small baby in the back of the office crying a cry that was causing me to have an anxiety attack.

Recently I’ve realized that I can’t be around small babies. Babies who are newborn to about 2 months old, I just can’t even look at. It fills me with all the emotions and then my heart feels like it’s about to explode. Apparently, small babies crying for long periods of time cause this same feeling.

It’s been ten and a half years since Charlie cried unconsolably for hours before stopping. It’s a sound I’ll never forget. And then the silence that followed is a sound I’ll never forget.

And apparently sitting in a doctor’s office listening to that same sound brings that memory back even stronger.

This has been my post for this week’s Just Write, hosted by the lovely and talented Heather from The Extraordinary Ordinary. 

{Part 2}: The Door To Christmas: Story of The Christmas Room

For Part 1 of The Christmas Room story, start here.

*******************************

door

Once everything was checked out, we were given the thumbs-up to go into The Christmas Room. In spite of being in that room year in and out, the magic of the room made your brain feel all oogly woogly and for a moment you couldn’t remember where you were supposed to go or sit or what you were supposed to say and YAY IT’S CHRISTMAS WE’RE FINALLY IN!

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to go into The Christmas Room, you know that whether it’s April or July or the day after Christmas, you will long for wrapped gifts and stockings. All year, this room is dedicated to Christmas.

There are two Christmas sofas, one for each family like we’re on Family Feud. I’m not sure how or when they were covered in this epically textured red velvet fabric, but I know that they were probably the subject of thousands of conversations over the years.

christmassofa

Someone would inevitably try to squeeze into the small chair that had once been my Mama’s, noting that “I can still fit in here” for all the family to giggle at them.

littlechair

Stockings were laid out in the corners of the sofas, perfectly filled with equal amounts of goods. Dads and boys got water guns and silly string. The Moms and girls got smelly lotions and lip gloss. At some point, we all started to get lottery tickets.

And there was always the famous cash envelope that the parents immediately confiscated – I can only assume that was so we didn’t throw it away with the wrapping paper.

Gifts were passed out by two of us. Everybody waited until all the gifts were carefully (and quickly) delivered to dive in. But when all was delivered, it was game on. Paper flew, “thank you” was said quickly when eye contact was made with the giver, the next gift was grabbed to open in a hurry.

As the years went on, we realized that Grannie and Grandaddy would sit and wait before opening their own gifts, watching and taking it all in before turning their attention to the gifts from their grandchildren and daughters.

It all moved dizzyingly fast – from the opening of the door to the moment we all leaned back and sighed from exhaustion. The next thing you knew, the parents were back at the table with pecan pie and coffee while the kids were laid out in the floor in front of the TV and electric space heater watching WMAZ’s coverage of Santa’s flight across the globe.

And just as we rushed to get TO Grannie and Grandaddy’s, once we realized Santa was close to our area, we forced the parents to rush home. Bags were gathered, trunks were filled (to the brim, to be honest), cars were loaded and goodbyes were said.

Before we got to the river, my sister and I were normally asleep. In fact, we were so sound asleep we would have to be carried into the house and placed in our beds with visions of sugarplums and the magic of The Christmas Room dancing in our heads.

*******************************

The Door To Christmas is more than just that. It’s the door to memories, ones that we can all share and cherish and open the door to whenever we want.

My wish for y’all this Christmas season is that you have a door in your heart and in your mind that you are able to open and be transported to happy and beautiful memories of Christmases past. And also that you are taking the time to enjoy the memories you are making with your children and grandchildren. Those memories will stay with them forever.

I also know that this Christmas, my Grannie and Grandaddy are together, sitting on a Christmas sofa holding Charlie, waiting patiently for all gifts to be open before they open theirs. They’ll smile down and make sure we are all equally  blessed, just as they did for dozens of years before.

{Part 1} The Door To Christmas: The Story of The Christmas Room

{Part 1} The Door To Christmas: The Story of The Christmas Room

The door to the jewelry store was locked as soon as the clock struck closing time on Christmas Eve. Jewelry was put away, money was counted, the employees milled around to wait for their gifts that were always handed out after closing. My sister and I were twitchy to get out of there so Christmas could start.

Christmas Eve was always spent at Grannie’s. It was tradition. It was how Christmas started.

After we got home from the store, my parents seemed to mill around for hours. My grandparents and Aunt and Uncle knew to wait for us, that we would be there as soon as we could. It seemed like my parents were never ready – always having to throw together some last minute gifts and having to pack the car and grab the food. I’m sure they were more organized than I remember, but it seemed like it took a short eternity to get to Grannie’s house.

Over the river and through the woods we went, with a trunk full of gifts, a food dish or two, and butterflies in our stomachs.

I’d say we had a small, tight family. There was Grannie and Grandaddy, our mom and dad and the two of us, and my aunt and uncle and their two sons. Small and mighty we were.

Part of the magic of Christmas growing up was starting the holidays in The Christmas Room.

We would all arrive, us late as usual, and the moms (women) would take to the kitchen and prepare the spread of carbs and desserts. I think there was some protein in there, too, but I stayed far away from all that! Was better to build up our energy stores with dressing and biscuits than to waste time eating turkey.

The men would count the pictures around Grannie and Grandaddy’s house to see which family “they liked best.”

The kids would ask every 3.7 seconds, “WHEN ARE WE GOING TO EAAATTTTT???”

Finally it was time to bless the food. Uncle Gary, being a good Southern Baptist Deacon, always had the honor. We wrapped around the table, hands held, parents trying to separate the kids to avoid the inevitable giggle-fest that organically happened about midway through the blessing. Their attempts to stop it were in vain.

Giggles commenced. First the kids, then the dads, and finally once we all proclaimed “AMEN” the whole group erupted in laughter.

Dinner was had – adults at the table near the door to The Christmas Room, kids in the kitchen at the small table. We ate as fast as humanly possible. There was no time for seconds or talking. Eat. As. Fast. As. You. Can.

And the parents ate as slooooowly as they could. In fact, sometimes it seemed like they weren’t even TRYING to eat.

So we waited. And waited.

After being as patient as possible, we would start hovering around the door.

door

Much like the door in Willy Wonka, this door was the way to the magic. Inside this room, FUN happened. Inside this room, Santa has already stopped by.

It was the door to Christmas. 

Eventually, after hovering over this door and offering to take the adults’ dishes to the kitchen, after the adults moseyed their way to get their cameras and coffee, after we all went to the bathroom because there could be NO breaks, after ALL that…

the dads went in the room to “check things out.

hangs head

…to be continued

Read Part 2 here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...