December 22, 2011

The Gift of a Smile: Guest Post by my Mom, Angela Silverthorne

Please welcome my lovely mother to the blog again.


The Gift of a Smile

Ah, Christmas . . .

Jesus. Trees. Lights. Cards. Presents. Carols. Joy. Stockings. Friends. Family. And, Mama.

Mama was always the first one I thought of at Christmas. I’d get to buy her two presents. One for Christmas and the other for her birthday. I never forgot her telling me how she hated being a Christmas baby. She felt either Christmas or her birthday was always being slighted.

At 15, I went to work for Cato’s Department Store. It was the first time I ever had money of my own. That Christmas I bought my first present, and it was for Mama’s birthday, a lavender sweater.

On Christmas morning, we all opened our gifts. Mama had several. Most said, “Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday.” She opened them, set them aside, and politely thanked everyone. I watched and waited.

Later that day, I slipped over to my grandmother’s house and baked Mama a birthday cake. More than anything, I couldn’t wait to see her face when I surprised her.

The next morning, I got up early, ran over to grandmother's and rushed back home with Mama's cake. Proudly I sat it in the middle of the kitchen table. Next I retrieved her birthday gift hidden under my bed, wrapped in the previous Sunday’s comic paper. I didn’t have any ribbon; so, I used a tattered scarf my grandmother gave me. Placing it next to the cake, I waited and watched.

Within minutes Mama came down the hall, sleepy-eyed and shuffling in the pink bedroom slippers she had gotten for Christmas. I watched her every move. When she looked up and saw the table display, she halted. I watched and waited. Then tears slid down her face one by one.

That’s the first time I remember seeing Mama cry. At first, I thought I had done something wrong. I felt a tightening in my chest. You know, the sudden kind only a 15-year-old can experience. Then in the middle of tears, she smiled.

Today, I saw the perfect sweater for my mother’s birthday. It would showcase her bobbed silver hair and blue-gray eyes. I held it up, and then held it close. Tears sprang up so fast I struggled to blink them away. Tenderly I laid it back down with the others, making sure I caressed it before walking away.

My mother’s birthday is on December 26. This is the third year I will not be able to be with her. She died in April 2009. The second year after her death, I did the same thing. But for a minute, I forgot about her death and started to call her to see if she’d like to be daring and go with a hot pink sweater. That time I did cry. Out loud and in public. I didn’t even try to squelch the grief and heartache of missing her.

The first Christmas without her, I ached—a deep, longing ache. I was numb, refusing to believe there could be a Christmas without Mama. I bought flowers and put them on her grave. Then I went out and bought her a navy sweater. It’s still wrapped. In comic paper. Tied with a tattered scarf. Under my bed, until our new dog found it. Now it’s safe in my closet.

I’ve decided when I die if anything can pass through the curtain of death, I’m dragging my present to Mama just to see her smile, one more time.

A smile. The gift of a lifetime and into eternity. 


Are you missing someone special this holiday season?


Nana said...

Thank you for sharing this on the blog. It truly means a lot to me. Merry Christmas. Will miss you a lot this holy season.

Tia Bach said...

We will miss you, too. I'm so glad I still have my Mama around (and Dad, too). Love you!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute!!

#3 wee beastie is also a Christmas baby. We've tried very hard to keep the two separate for him.

Hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday.

Tia Bach said...

Raelyn, Thanks for your sweet words. I'll pass them on to Mom. I know this was hard for her to write.

Rutha, So glad you are enjoying our blog.

Wishing you both the best of the season. Hold tight to loved ones and remember those who can no longer be with us.

Anonymous said...

My mother has been gone eighteen years. She loved Christmas, and I miss her terribly at this time.

This is a lovely tribute to your mother. I'm glad I got to read it.