Decorating a Mini Miracle

Denise
File Dec 20, 9 00 54 AMTen years ago, Sibling, mad at my parents, refused to let my mom see my nieces over the holidays. My mom called their house but my sister, with the heads-up from caller ID, wouldn't answer my mom's calls. So, my mom left messages, pleading, begging, crying to see the girls. It was awful.

I suggested an alternative idea: I'll call on my cell phone and someone will answer because they won't recognize my phone number. Sure enough, my brother-in-law answered my call. I happily asked my brother-in-law how he was and then asked to speak to one of my nieces. "Mom and I want to take them for lunch," I explained. Five minutes later, we had a date on the calendar for lunch, which happened a few days later.

Fast forward ten years. Sibling continues to refuse our invitation to participate in family get-togethers. After Thanksgiving, my younger sister's daughter, E., cried to her mom about not seeing her cousins over Christmas.

I had already invited E. to decorate Christmas cookies the Saturday before Christmas. What the heck, I thought, I'll invite my other nieces, too. I sent a text after Thanksgiving inviting them, letting them know that E. would attend, too. The three nieces replied back that they wanted to come. (They remembered that my mom fell after last year's decorating party and hoped we would avoid any hospital trips this time.)

So, yesterday, my four nieces, my younger sister, my mom and I gathered to create "hot chocolate" cookie cups, Rice Krispie Christmas trees and brownie Christmas trees. I worried a bit about the day: Would one of my nieces cancel at the last minute? How would my mom do -- visiting the house for the first time since her hospitalization in July?

It all went well. Everyone had fun, took home plates of cookies on which to nibble today, and received memories of a fun time spent with family. When my oldest niece left (the one who didn't feel comfortable spending one-on-one time with me), she gave me a big hug and said, "This was awesome."

My mom walked through the house, chose a few clothes to bring back to the apartment and admired a few changes I made. I worried she would cry -- cry she's not living at the house right now, cry that she left in July in an ambulance and didn't return until five months later and only then for an afternoon. But she never shed a tear, never cursed her fate. And, she loved the whole day.

Yesterday felt like our season's miracle.

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