Christmas 2018

2018-12-25_19-46-57Another Christmas has come and gone, my heart is filled with love and my stomach with goodness.

Watching the joy of Christmas through the eyes of a 9-year-old and a 4-year-old is about as good as it gets.  Their glee-filled joy at every gift, while their kindness and appreciation for everything they receive is heartwarming and their genuine excitement to give the gifts they have picked out for others is even more of a blessing.

Christmas is my favorite time of year, we honor traditions that have been part of my life since day one and create new ones each year.  My favorite day of the Christmas season is Christmas Eve, now at my house, on that day I feel closer to my mother than any other day of the year.

I do my best to make it as special as she always did, I don’t come close to her expertise, but I do my best.

As a child we always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve and had Santa on Christmas morning, now, we have turned Christmas Eve into our “tacky sweater” competition, and like most things we do, we all compete hard to win!

Christmas Eve is also filled with lots of laughs, at some point everyone is the butt of a joke as we tell old and new stories on each other.  As the night ends, we depart, hopefully with memories of fun and love that will be called upon again and again in our minds and hearts.

Christmas morning, everyone heads to my niece and nephew’s house for Santa, breakfast and gifts.  An embarrassment of riches fills the floor of my childhood home, now made anew by my niece’s family.

The giggles and joy of sweet girls now fills the room where rambunctious boys once played.  More memories are made and heartfelt gifts with special meaning get interspersed with toys, clothes and housewares.

After breakfast, we all return to our respective homes, I usually take a nap while my sister-in-law is busy preparing one last Christmas feast.

In the early afternoon, we gather at my brother and sister-in-laws home for a traditional meal and more laughs.  Another new tradition we have incorporated over the last few years is board games after we eat and clear the table, once again we fight to win and play hard to come out of top.

As evening approaches and the sun sets on another Christmas we make our way to our respective homes, filled with love, laughs and stomachs bursting after the consumption of more food than humans should eat.

Now in my mid-50’s Christmas memories are even more precious than when I was young.  It no longer has anything to do with the brightly wrapped gifts, the real treasures I get on these days are the memories and gifts of time that I am able to enjoy with my family.

We aren’t perfect, we all know how to push the buttons of each other and sometimes do, but overall, I can say we do a pretty good job of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, the one where love prevails and the joy of that first Christmas miracle is celebrated.  We’re definitely not Normal Rockwell, but we are about as good at being Rumsey as you can get!

I hold these memories close to my heart, I try to remember each word, each laugh and each expression of love, I hold these memories in my heart in hopes of many more with the people I love most.

Merry Christmas friends and to my family, thank you for another great celebration, filled with the magic of Christmas!

Friday’s Hero ~ 5.10.13; Aunt Beck, Sara Singleton and Donna Baribeau

For the past three years Mother’s Day has been a dread for me.  Since losing my mother it is just a painful day that I would prefer to skip.FRIDAY’S

This year, I have decided to try and make the best of it, while I don’t have my mother on this earth any longer, I still am able to carry wonderful memories with me that help ease the pain.

I have decided this year, I will honor three “mother figures” in my life, women who have helped to fill an unfillable void since my hero was promoted to Glory.

This Week’s Friday’s Heroes are my Aunt Beck, Sara Singleton and Donna Baribeau….. Fill-In  Mothers.

My Aunt Beck has always been a major force in my life, she was mama’s only sister.  Aunt Beck lives in Florida, so growing up as a kid, she was who we would visit on Spring Break and Summer vacation.

As I grew older, Aunt Beck was a confidant and became a friend.

Once I moved to Florida, and Uncle Larry passed away, Aunt Beck became my traveling buddy.  If I were going to be in God’s Country, Aunt Beck was going to be in the car beside me heading that way.

Aunt Beck was with us in God’s Country during that final week.

Aunt Beck has always been a force in my life, but since mama passed away she now fills a bigger role.  We talk on the phone more, we share more and I look to her more for those “mama” talks that I miss so much.

Sara Singleton was my mama’s best friend.  Mama and Mrs. Singleton met shortly after we moved to God’s Country and they remained friends until the day my mama died.

Mama and Mrs. Singleton had parallel lives, both teachers, both mother’s of boys, both Coaches wives.  Mama and Mrs. Singleton would travel to games together, they would console each other through victories and defeats and as they got older they just talked.

Mama and Mrs. Singleton had a ritual of afternoon coffee, every day Monday – Friday.  Their afternoon “chat” time started out at Mrs. Singleton’s house and moved to McDonald’s after they both retired.  Mama and Mrs. Singleton continued the tradition for most of their adult lives.

When I go to God’s Country for a visit, I reconnect with my mama through a visit with Mrs. Singleton.

We talk about what is going on in our lives and the subject inevitably will turn to my mama.   I feel a connection to my mama through Mrs. Singleton, and as she has been a constant through most of my life, I feel a motherly love for her that has seen every season of my life.

Donna Baribeau is my Florida mother.  Donna didn’t have kids and she has adopted all of our Florida Family as her own.

I met Donna years ago in a business meeting and got my first “Donna-look,” a half-smile, half you have got to be effing kidding me stare.  From that moment on, I fell in love with Donna.

For years now Donna has provided a motherly shoulder to me and the other members of my extended Florida Family, while she isn’t as strict as our own mother’s she still likes to rule with a velvet fist.

Donna’s love and compassion have found me when I needed it most.  When mama passed, I came home to a clean from top to bottom, organized, rooted and planted, new towel and sheets home…. even a new mattress pad.  That is just the kind of person Donna is, she doesn’t love just a little bit but with her whole heart.

When I had the opportunity to interview for my present job, it was the first interview I had after mama died.   For every interview of my life before this one, my mother would encourage me and tell me how proud of me she was, this time my mama wasn’t there to tell me.

Donna was.

Before my interview I saw Donna and she knew exactly what I needed to hear and she sent me on my way to get my dream job with a motherly love that I will always appreciate.  Donna and I were in the car together when I got the call offering me the job.

Donna is a friend, a confidant and a mother figure, someone I appreciate for just being Donna.

Mothers come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes they are here for specific moments of our lives.  No one will ever replace my mother, she was one of a kind and I am proud to say she was mine, but it is comforting to know that there are other women who step up and help fill a void that seems to grow wider as the days go by.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and especially to three women who have helped me when I needed it most, Aunt Beck, Sara Singleton and Donna Baribeau, my heroes of the week!