Although the house is still in darkness and the coffee has yet to brew, Sylvia, unable to tolerate her restlessness a moment longer, rises well before the sun. The early hour necessitates illumination of the Christmas tree much to Sylvia’s delight. Coffee by the tree in total silence amidst the twinkling lights sounds like a perfect way to start the first week of the year. And yes, the tree is still up (until the sixth at least) as was her mother’s custom. The only thing lacking this morning is a generously powdered, raspberry-jelly-filled donut.
Sylvia, bypassing the automatic setting on the coffeemaker, awaits her daily tonic with a favorite mug at the ready. Unlike most mornings when she rushes to consume that first cup to jumpstart her, today she purposely and patiently delays because she wants this feeling that is washing over her to linger as long as possible.
Hearing the three beeps signifying the end of brewing, Sylvia picks up her pace. After pouring that first cup, she shuffles from the kitchen across the dark hickory floor to claim her presence and this day by the tree. Being careful not to spill a drop, Sylvia facing the tree slowly squats, smiles satisfyingly, and raises her mug. “Cheers to the ultimate purveyors of jelly donut love! How lucky I have been to live this life as your daughter!
Today would have been their sixty-third, and I’ll repeat that which I have posted in recent years and have felt every year since my mother’s physical absence here in the world because it still and always rings true. (I’ve edited a bit now that Dad has passed and has been reunited with the love of his life.)
I feel my mother’s presence more than ever. She continues to give me strength. He continues to teach me even in his absence that all that matters is right now and what is in your heart. Their example – their devotion to each other, to me and their other children, to their grandchildren, and to extended family, friends, and community– allows me to get through each day and find something to smile about in the face of all of life’s chaos. I’ll celebrate them today in their way, going about the business of life.
While she taught me to keep going no matter what, he showed me in the end the importance of resting quietly in the moment. Like hummingbirds, she soared and flitted, and he perched and rested. One was left behind to face the world alone without the other, but the bond between them was never broken. It grew. It provided strength to the other. Her soulful and spiritual energy fueled him. The love, the friendship, and the mutual respect endured. I saw that each time in his eyes when I mentioned her name and in those moments when he thought I was his wife. Now, he has her back in his arms again. I believe that because I will forever subscribe to the power of jelly donut love.
Happy anniversary to the two people who modeled what true love, partnership, friendship and respect are. I’ve been pulled and pelted and torn, and it is only because of your love for me and the love you showed each other that I remain hopeful and able to get up again. Thank you for teaching me how to love, how to parent, and how to live.
Sylvia, entranced by the dancing flickers and soothed by the warm morning elixir, has not even noticed that the day has dawned. Almost jolted, she finally hears the neighborhood coming to life; everyone readies for this new day as if it is any ordinary day. How lovely it is for Sylvia to carry deep within her the knowledge of how special this day truly is.
Indeed, there is solace knowing that the best days can be lived forever in the feelings that such memories have embedded on the soul. Happy heavenly anniversary, Mom and Dad. You always celebrated on this date, and no matter what else comes to pass on the tenth day of Christmas, I’ll smile and dream that those ten lords-a-leaping were hopping and dancing about reveling in the obvious joy you shared and showed the world.
Just a friendly urging that in the process of going about your life, you hang on to who matters most and make sure you leave nothing left unsaid.
“Love knows no reason, no boundaries, no distance. It has a sole intention of bringing people together to a time called forever.”