for years, I would fret about mama’s passing, would even distance myself from her at times, in preparation. for what? she’s still here, feisty as ever; just not as active. how much valuable time did I lose, dreading the future? we could have been spending that time together, but my head was in the wrong place. one day, I just didn’t worry about it anymore. the fear still pops up occasionally, but I don’t dwell on it.

I had forgotten about all that mess, until this morning. I was breakfasting with a couple of good friends, talking about Christmas, and everyone’s plans (out of stupidity, I decided to make my own cards this year, which is taking me forever, and has thus put me behind in baking) when it hit me, 3 weeks from now, the warm, fuzzy feelings will be gone, replaced with the dread of a cold winter, and longing for spring.

as I sat there thinking about this fact, I realized that I could easily fall into that old hole again. I read a book by dave barry a couple of days ago, “the shepherd, the angel, and walter the Christmas dog”, dave-barry.gifand the main character, doug, says that Christmas Eve is the best day of the year. all the festivities are yet to come, all the anticipation and excitement. by the next day, the gifts have been given, the family is tired of each other, and the excitement is gone.

to try to combat this experience, our family started a tradition almost 20 years ago.

for Christmas, mama wanted a day out of the kitchen, so daddy took us to a truck stop for Christmas dinner. after that, we wanted to spend time together, but not at home where everyone would scatter and do their own things, so we went to see a movie. back then, we were usually the only people in the theater. after a couple years of this, the truck stop closed it’s doors, so we had to find another place. chinese restaurants were the only places open, so that’s where we went. my brother used to sing fa-ra-ra-ra-ra ra-ra-ra-ra! I reckon you can guess that we love ‘a Christmas story’.

nowadays, both the chinese places and the movie theaters are packed on Christmas day. while I feel bad for the people who have to work on this beautiful and Holy day, I love that so many other people are sharing our tradition.