Monday, December 30, 2013


It's always a challenge to find Christmas gifts for Mom.  Not only does she not want anything she tries to get rid of the stuff she does have by giving it to me whenever I visit.  Plus she always pleads with me not to spend any money on her. But I really want her to have wrapped packages to open, so I'm always determined to find something.

Every year I get her a Robert Tuckwiller calendar (he paints lovely landscapes of the area of Virginia where we are from).  So that's an easy one.

This year I got her a pretty Marjolein Bastin bluebird refrigerator magnet from Hallmark.  She had a bunch of photos and magnets and things on her refrigerator when she lived in Gainesville, but now her frig is a small one and somehow nothing ever got put on it. She seemed really happy with the little decoration.

A bestselling book from a few years ago (Wish You Well by David Baldacci) has been made into a movie that was filmed in Giles County, where I'm from.  Part of it was actually filmed on the tiny little road where I grew up, right down the street from our house, in the old abandoned one-room building that was my father's school.  (Don't picture the school in the Waltons, that's too modern - picture the one in Little House on the Prairie.)  My cousin's young daughter (whom I've never actually met) is an extra as one of the schoolchildren.  The movie is completed but hasn't been released yet.

I found a copy of the book that meets Mom's requirements: it's a trade paperback but it's not too heavy, and even thought it's not actually Large Print it's easy to read.  Inside the book I put a pretty pink and lavender bookmark, and Mom's started reading it already.

I also bought her a small box of chocolates that had whole hazelnuts inside.  She just loves hazelnuts.

So she had several pretty packages to open and she seemed genuinely delighted with each of the gifts.  We opened presents in her apartment on Christmas Eve and then went to my sister's house for a lovely lunch on Christmas Day (roast chicken, green beans with almonds, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, cranberry sauce, carrots and homemade pecan pie that consisted primarily of butter, Karo syrup and brown sugar).  We all ate too much, and Mom took home a leftover piece of pie.

It was a lovely holiday visit.  I am aware that I get too caught up in trying to make sure everything is perfect for Mom, and often having Greg there makes it even worse because instead of letting him help me I just add to the pressure by feeling like I have to make sure everything is perfect for him, too.  Being aware of my tendency to get too stressy makes it a little easier to cut it out when I see it starting, so I think I did a pretty good job this time of just relaxing and enjoying the time with Mom.

It's been too long since I've visited her, and I want to go again within the next couple of months.