Remembering my own Mom
Thoughts of the holidays present a variety of sensations to our imaginations. Whether it’s the beautiful Christmas tree in your hallway, the wrapped presents under it, the aura of pine refreshing your home, the smell of baking food alerting you and the family dog, or the smiling faces reuniting at a chosen home, the holidays bring a lot of special memories and comforting emotions.
I’m sure you can think of times when a family reunion didn’t go as planned, but during the holidays, everybody seems to be on their best behavior, and there’s a reason for that. Everything you could possibly need is available to you, but these things don’t appear out of thin air. These “things,” are quite costly and time-consuming, and the people making it possible not only put in a lot of uncredited work during the holidays, but they are the reason everybody is in a good mood and under less pressure when it’s time to visit.
A mother is the ultimate nurturer for young men and women in life, and during the holidays, it is absolutely amplified. Gifts, decorations, hosting rooms, food, and music are all necessary parts of the holidays, and many families, including mine, can attest to how much mothers shine during these times.
Unfortunately, it took me losing my mother to breast cancer back in 2020 to realize this. The first year without her, everything was quiet and empty, and being a 20-year-old young man at the time, I really didn’t know how to prepare for Christmas. I’d always tell my mother “Thank you” after every holiday, but it could never truly reflect the gratitude I have now, looking back at the holidays in her household.
My mother, who was always known to work long hours as a social worker, was an absolute machine during the holidays. It would start at the beginning of December, when Mom would begin decorating the house. There had to be a Christmas wreath on the front door, bells along the handrails, lights covering every corner of the house, both inside and outside, and Christmas figurines standing on every shelf. For Mom, it seemed easy to establish a Christmas spirit in the home she built, and ensuring a holiday environment was the first step in doing this.
My responsibility during this time was to get the Christmas tree. How I got that role, I have no idea, but Mom swore that I was the only one who could pick out the tree. She said I always picked the right-sized tree, and most importantly, I knew which one had the most soothing aura and pleasant scent.
Later on in December, Mom would get a plethora of packages in the mail, as her extensive Christmas shopping covered members of the family both in and out of the house. She would close the doors to the living room, as we all knew that in the days surrounding December 10, the living room was reserved for her. This was because she didn’t want anybody peeking at gifts, and she’d use this time efficiently wrapping presents with James Taylor and Frank Sinatra blaring on the radio.
Right before Christmas, Mom would turn her attention to church and music. Mom was always a singer, and she felt it was necessary to intertwine her musical skills with her Christmas spirit. Christmas Eve would come along, and I’d attend church, watching Mom sing gracefully in the choir. When I tell you she’d move nonstop during this time, I am hardly exaggerating: She’d work long shifts at her job in the city, continue decorating and wrapping presents as soon as she’d get home, and then dedicate her Sunday mornings and afternoons to singing in church. Her spirit was the battery in her back that kept her running, and that left so many of us amazed.
When Christmas day arrived, everybody got what they wanted as soon as the sun came up, and Mom would make a scrumptious meal that could feed us twice. I was always thankful to have these resources during the holidays, but I took them for granted.
As I advance in life without my mother, I find myself spending time with other members of the family during Christmas, and I make sure my thankfulness is apparent, as being tasked with saving the holidays is never an ordinary assignment. I always notice how much mothers go through to give everybody what they want during the holidays, and it’s heartwarming to see how much happiness they supply the family through all that tedious preparation during these times.
Beau Fighera is a senior at Towson University, aiming to get his degree in journalism. He is a proud graduate of Columbia High School, and as a hip-hop artist sports the stage name “Don Blake.”