Last year, during my family’s “White Elephant” Christmas gift exchange, my Mother was a busy woman. That is, a portrait of her from eighth grade was busy. Everyone kept exchanging gifts to get their hands on that portrait. Finally at the end of the night a deal was reached…everyone would receive a 5X7″ picture of the portrait and we could finally all go home. The irony is, my Dad would later say, “Your mother hated that picture of herself”. Of course she did.
This year, my sister Ann Marie decided to bring Mom to our Christmas celebration in a different way….”Well Dad doesn’t appreciate these things anymore (if he ever did) and I thought the girls would be taken by the gesture”. Boy were they. I was called to a commotion occurring in the home’s family room. My first inclination that something was up was the look upon my niece Cori’s face; she was crying, holding a ballerina figurine made by the famous Spanish sculptor, Lladro. “Cori purchased that for Mom while she was in Spain. She carried it all over Europe to bring home for her” My sister Terri explained. The label on the present said, To Cori from Grandma Joyce. All around the room, similar scenes were playing out. Nieces opening small presents, revealing sculpted figurines, all girls in various stages of tears, all with labels which read “From Grandma Joyce”.
The doll opened her box and found a Sprite figurine. Yesterday when we found the perfect spot on our mantle to display the object, she said to me, “Mom, this is really quite ugly”. “Well there is no accounting for someone’s taste level” I replied with a laugh. Did you notice Mary and Elle received companion Sprites to yours?” I asked. Shaking her head up and down she said, “But Cori got that beautiful ballerina…” The doll explained. “Ah, well you see Cori gave that to Grandma a long time ago. It was only fair she received it in the end.” The doll, now understanding the gift, agreed. “Doll, do you remember my mom at all?” I asked. Shaking her head up and down she replied, “Yes, but only like in snap shots. Not really more than that…but when I think of her, I feel a warm love…” She said. “I hope you do…she was a wonderful woman.” I said and then we moved onto another subject from there.
“Grandma had a unique way of making everyone of her Grandchildren feel as if they were the only grandchild…without slighting the other kids in any way. She was the perfect grandmother” My nephew Colin told me Christmas eve; also overwhelmed by the gifts his cousins were receiving.
I dare say she was very much the same kind of mom…though, my thoughts are biased.