Thursday, December 15, 2016

Is That My Christmas Tree?

Meem's assisted living facility is decorated so beautifully for Christmas.  Little elves tiptoed in and made magic happen just after Thanksgiving.  Magic, I'm tellin' ya.  Magic.  About once a week during my visits with Meems, we take a Tour de Trees.  This is what happens...
Meems:  Is that my Christmas tree?
["My" means the tree from her house in Waco]
Me:  Kinda.  You have to share it with everyone else.
Meems:  Good.
Meems:  Is that my Christmas tree?
Me:  It sure looks like your tree, but I
think that your tree was shorter.
Meems:  That's right.
Meems:  Is that my Christmas tree?
Me:  Ummmmm.  Maybe.
Meems:  It sure looks like it.
[aforementioned Waco tree was NOT as snowman tree]

Meems:  Is that my Christmas tree?
Me:  I don't remember your tree having so
many legs sticking out of it.

Meems:  Is that my Christmas tree?
Me:  You know, it just might be...
Meems:  It looks like mine.
[The Waco tree did have some blue ornaments...]
Me:  It sure does look like it might be yours!

These exchanges remind me of the children's book by P.D. Eastman, "Are You My Mother?"  Some days when Meems is so sleepy she can't keep her eyes open for more than 15 seconds, I want to ask, "Are you my mother?"  The mother who worked hard from dawn 'til dark-thirty grading papers, cutting out a pants suit pattern, and raking leaves?  Or, when she can't remember the names of any of her friends from Waco?  Are you my mother?  There was a time when she could list everyone she saw at church and what each lady wore and who wore it best.   Or, when she doesn't know what time of day it is.  Are you my mother?  In days gone by, she could guess the time within about 15 minutes by observing the sky and the rumblings in her tummy.  

When she gives me little love pats while she hugs me, I know.  When she tells me that I was the "hardest" baby she gave birth to and that she felt better the second I was born, I know.  When her face lights up with a smile.  I know.  When she tells me that I need to find the store that is selling ladies' boots for $7 and asks me to buy a pair for her and a pair for myself, I know.  (There is no Lubbock store selling boots for $7.)

I wish that the assisted living elves could recreate her Waco Christmas tree with all of its pretty pinks and soft blues and pale greens and the one green pickle ornament.  I'd roll her little wheelchair up really close to its boughs, turn on some Bing Crosby Christmas tunes, and let her soak in the beauty of her memories.  Yes.  That's your Christmas tree.  Yes.  That's my mother.  Magic.




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