Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dear Mom: Christmas 2016

Dear Mom,

            It’s been a month since I last spoke to you. I’m sorry for that, but as you know, I’ve been busy. I’ve moved twice, switched jobs, and completed another term at university. Though I spoke to you just the other night, it wasn’t a proper conversation. There’s a lot I’m thinking of this Christmas.

            First, it doesn’t feel like Christmas. Not just because the snow has melted. The mood just isn’t there. It hasn’t been for some time. At least the temperatures are mild, and the roads are clear. You’d appreciate that.

            I keep having memories to previous Christmas Days. I remember gifts I’d gotten—like the blue dinosaur sleeping back when I was nine. I remember other things too. Every Christmas, you’d put a Mad Magazine, a Medieval or space Lego kit, and a Lifesavers Book in my stocking. I still have that stocking. It’s packed away, as I haven’t really unpacked since moving again. I looked for old school Lego, but decided to leave that for the next generation of kids. They need it more than I do.

Instead, I bought myself a copy of Lady Antonia Fraser’s Mary, Queen of Scots. I visited her in Westminster Abby, if you recall. I also have a plane ticket to San Francisco, to visit friends. You know, Kethry and her mom and dad. Her daughter, Miranda, has gotten sooooo big! It’ll be the first time I’ve seen them since she lost her husband.

As for myself…

I got an “A” in both of my classes this time. I don’t know how I did it. It was a miracle, because my heart wasn’t in the semester at first. Somehow, I pulled it together, and was determined not to fail. I scored perfectly on my first two psych tests. I was only four points shy of scoring a 100% in World Lit. Still, my essays and poetry were perfect scores. That’s what mattered most to me. My instructor says I’m a natural-born teacher. You once told me I should be a teacher, so it’s something to think about.

Yesterday is doing well. She’s lost a bit of weight, which she needed to lose. She’s an old cat now, but she has some years left in her. She misses you, too. July is happy and free with other cats. A friend took her to live with her parents. I know you’d by glad to know she’s in her element, chasing mice, and shagging tomcats like mad. She was never an indoor cat like Yesterday. She was always wild.
You know about the trip to Britain. I’m taking another one in June. I need to go back there. It’s the place where I feel I belong. I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time I was there. Your Christmas gift would have been this Union Flag mug that I’ve been drinking out of lately. I’m sorry I couldn’t give it to you, but I know you’d want me to use it.

I love a lady over there. I’d write more, but I don’t want to embarrass her. She knows how I feel. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m hopeful. I think you would have really liked her. She’s smart, sweet, beautiful, and has a great sense of humor. You’d like her freckles! You’d also love where she lives. It’s all regency architecture, with a big statue of Queen Victoria.
I also have a friend that made an angel for you, and lit a candle. I know you saw that, in the chapel at Oxford. How could you not?

It’s going to be strange not seeing you on Christmas morning. Your chair will be empty. I won’t see you by the tree. There will be no presents. But I will try my best to make waffles and sausages, like I always did.

This is my first Christmas without you. I’m glad I’m not spending it alone, because that would be worse.

I won’t hear your television, with A Christmas Story playing in the background. Nor, will I hear you say, “Santa brought you something!” I won’t be making steaks for dinner, so I made them tonight. I cooked your steak just the way you like it. I hope you don’t mind, but I ate your steak. I don’t think you would mind at all.


I’m trying my best to be good. I want you to be proud of me. Most of all, I want to fulfill my promises to you…not the least of which, is that I won’t give up. I want my life to have mattered, and to have made a difference. I may not be in the best place right now (geographically, or emotionally) but I’m still here. I’m still on a crusader, like I always am. Except now, I know I can do it. I didn’t have the faith in myself before, but I do now.

I wish that things were different toward the end of your life. I wish that you and I could have fixed things. Most of all, I wish you could be here to see how I’ve grown. I’m not the man I was before you died. Though I’m not sure what the future holds, I’m better than I was before. It’s scary, because I have no guide on the bridge, so to speak. Yet, I am sailing solo. I know one day I’ll land on calm shores, and stake a claim. Until then, I will brave the storm.

There are stars that guide me.
I know you are among them.

Your son.

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