Who would have thought that one simple moment would cause me to break down so easily? Certainly, not me, but it did happen. Throughout the twenty three years that we have been together, DJ has never asked for or gone after the little blue tin full of butter cookies that he did while grocery shopping the other day. And, I have to ask myself why on this day, this year, did he decide that he wanted to grab that little blue tin and place it in the cart? He certainly could not have gauged my reaction to seeing the tin, nor could he have expected the gesture to flood my mind with the sweet memories that brought tears to my eyes. Now, I have cried over cookies in a grocery store before, but that is a different story about pregnancy and Grasshoppers. Maybe, I will tell you that story some day.
Looking down in the basket at that little blue tin, a realization struck. I will never have another Christmas with her. Many little blue tins like this little blue tin spent their lifetimes in a closet holding buttons to place on clothing, beads to make jewelry, receipts for important purchases, and crayons broken by children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Those little blue tins sat on a kitchen counter, anxious to be opened by anyone that crossed the threshold into the warm kitchen and home filled with love. The sweet taste of butter and sugar awaiting to be chosen by the people that she loved more than anyone in the world, her family.
Sweet memories of an entire family gathered in a home completely crowded, full of laughter, and the spirit of Christmas filling the air struck my mind so quickly, that I could not contain the emotion. Flashes of a beautiful aunt with an infectious laugh, always happy and always proud, taken far before her time. Flashes of my father’s freckled fingers, nimbly reaching down into that tin to grab the cookies with the little chocolate bits. I think I get my love of chocolate from him. Flashes of small children running to the counter and snatching a cookie and shoving it in their mouths before anyone could stop them. So much love and so much warmth could be found in every Christmas in her home, and every Christmas, that little blue tin of cookies sat on that counter and waited for all of us.
Christmas does not seem to be anywhere close to the same as it did when those little blue tins sat on her counter, and that chapter in my life has come to a close. So, today, it is time for me to create my own chapter and try to make my Christmases special in their own little way. Although my heart is heavy with the loss of so many people that I love, I will always remember that I carry them all with me, and they will always influence how I chose to celebrate my Christmas this year and all of the years to come, with love, laughter, and the spirit of Christmas.