Mom checked into the hospital a year ago. She came home for three days in January, then died. Christmas won’t be the same this year, but then our traditions are little more than memorials to the past: our memories—some fond, others not—of familiar patterns and persons. Here are a few things I’ll miss this Christmas.
Mom’s cheese straws. Others have offered to bake me cheese straws, but they’re rarely as good. Mom used cayenne pepper in the batches she made for me. Mom was always hot at me about something. Usually had to do with my not coming around as often as I should. My sister can whip up a pretty good imitation. I’ll make do with hers.
Mom’s sausage balls. Not as hard to recreate. I picked up a daughter-in-law this year and her mom brought some over for Thanksgiving. They were almost as good as Mom’s so I’m fine there, I think. The key to sausage balls is to make sure the sausage is cooked. Half-cooked pork is never a good thing, especially when you have a house full of Christmas guests but only two bathrooms.
Mom’s no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. Got a batch of these after Mom’s funeral. They were okay, but you’d have to know Mom to understand why no one can bake a no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookie like her. Mom put a lot of grumbling into her batch. She wanted me to know what a pain they were to make. I think that’s what made hers special.
No one ever accused Mom of being meek, but she came from humble beginnings. She bragged about living in a tobacco barn growing up and eating dirt with her grits. She worked the farm and drove a school bus, then escaped Pender County to marry my dad. Mom gave my sister and me more than she ever imagined a farm girl could. Her siblings and children, extended family, and friends were blessed because of her.
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed. Luke 1:47-48 Today’s New International Version (TNIV)
Mom wasn’t Mary but from where I stood (far away whenever possible), she was blessed by God.
Whatever success we achieve usually comes with a lot of help from others. God sends folks into our lives and if we’re watching, we see His hand in their hands: hands covered in flour and sticky with dough. On our small days, our humble and reflective days, we know whatever good things come to us come through Him. God uses our circumstances to bless others and those blessings flow down for generations.
God blessed Mom and she blessed others, so the traditions flow forth. Take a moment this Christmas to write a note of encouragement to a family member or friend, letting them know what a blessing they are to your life.
Next Christmas may be too late.