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The end of the year has always been a bit of a fun blur for me. With three familial birthdays in late November, Thanksgiving, and of course the impending Christmas chaos how could it not? But this year, throw in a global pandemic and mom’s reversing her days and nights and the fun part kind of went by the wayside.

In my sleep deprived haze, we celebrated, socially distanced and with masks of course, while the ever present “will this be mom’s last birthday” question hung heavily over my head. Let’s face it, no one really knows what the future holds. We hope, we pray, we put our faith in forward motion, but once dementia comes into your world, the future is wrought with many questions.

I made mom her favorite vanilla cake, of which she ate one piece, on her birthday. That was more than I thought she would partake in anyway. She was amazed one, that I could bake and two, that it was good. Thanks mom.

For Christmas, we would always have our regular Italian Christmas celebration complete with the seven fishes dinner. While I realize that is something of legend in the Italian world I was NEVER a fan. I also made my usual six different types of cookies, pumpkin bread, pecan squares, decorated inside and outside of the house, but by that second year of her living with us, I knew the holidays as we knew it, were not going to happen like that anymore.

No more pulling out every Christmas decoration since the girls were born. No deciding which of the multitude of Christmas knick knacks will go where, all the while knowing when it came time to take them down and put them away I would curse myself for my choices.

I have pared things down to what I really enjoy, making my kids’ favorite cookies, looking at the tree with its changing lights, no ornaments. Only my favorite knick knacks, many of which were given to me by my mother, mother-in-law or special friends are displayed. Decorations are only in two rooms.

Is this different than it used to be? Yes. But then again so am I. So is our life, and I’ve come to realize that’s okay. I am trying my best to not “should” myself on a daily basis, so why would the holidays be any different?

While we may not have what we used to, we do have each other and while that may sound like a sappy Hallmark Movie, (of which I adore but that’s a different post) we have come to really enjoy our new traditions.

But that’s downstairs. Upstairs in my mother’s room it’s just another day of the week and this year, I fear, will be the least recognizable of them all.


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