12 Days of Christmas: Tributes to My Mom (2015)

I was inspired on December 7th to begin posting these “Eighteen Days of Christmas” tributes to my mother, and I had the idea of sharing 18 entries before Christmas Day (I have fallen a bit behind). Without blinking I listed 20 gifts she had given me in my journal and have used this as a general guide. At the same time I have stayed in a mode of meditation and reflection each day on which gift I might choose and how I could best communicate it with my friends and family. It has been a wonderful way for me to grieve the loss of my mom while at the same time celebrating all her life has meant to me.
I reposted a picture of the Pink Pig ride yesterday and shared a bit about its special meaning for me and my mom. To piggy back (pun intended), last night my brother called while leaving Lenox and mentioned seeing the Pink Pig. We took another trip down memory Lane. As fate would have it, I went somewhere today I avoid at all cost….the mall, and in particular Lenox Mall. I went almost a decade without going, but went last year to cash in on a Christmas gift facial from my client’s salon at Lenox. I returned for the same reason today. While sitting in the Lenox parking lot, I had a phone conversation with a family member about her grief over the loss of her mother years ago, and she pointed out that we continue to grieve for years and never know when it might hit us.
I walked into the mall and in the midst of culture shock, see this very, very long line. I had already passed the line for Santa, so I figured there wasn’t a second Santa. I walked towards the line and gasped when I realized it was the line to ride the Pink Pig. OMG. Without thinking I followed the line all the way outside to the PP tent. Tears filled my eyes so full that I could barely see. I walked over to a display about the history, and a young father with his family offered to move so I could get a better shot of it with my camera phone. I asked them about their experience with the PP, and encouraged them that the wait would be worth it. His mother and father (who was in a wheelchair) proceed to tell me that they have been coming every year since their kids were small. Wow! I realize at this point that there is something quite magical about the PP that is bigger than me and my mom. LOL.
I experienced the Pink Pig as a child, and then later as a young adult decided to take my mother to relive this wonderful memory. You would have thought that I had taken my mom on a trip to Paris. She was so excited and talked about our adventure for years. She bought me a stuffed pink pig which I kept in my closet until her passing. I actually left it along with flowers at her grave site. My mom and I created some great memories and enjoyed a lot of laughter over the years with some of the most special ones occurring the year before she moved to Alabama. My mom begin to experience significant memory loss about three years ago. She would get frustrated and apologize for repeating herself and forgetting things. She would make me cry by thanking me over and over for being so patient with her. I am not proud to say that before then I wasn’t always as patient with my mom as I should have been, but God gave me supernatural patience with her during the last few years. When she wouldn’t stop apologizing for her memory loss, I had to remind her that I also struggled with memory loss after going through a trauma of sorts. A girlfriend lovingly reminded me of how patient my mom was with me during that time. What a gift to be able in a small way to return the favor.

On this eighth day of Christmas, my dear mom gave to me………WONDERFUL MEMORIES AND LOTS OF LAUGHTER.

A long history for the Pink Pig
What I saw when I walked past the long line at Lenox
I saved the sticker from when I went with my mom as an adult

Lessons Learned Outside the Classroom from Students, Strangers, Relationships, My Dog, My Faith and My Day