A friend's blog entry got me thinking, well crying actually, so I thought I would put my thoughts down here.My friends will know that Christmas is an emotional time for me and that I spend a large chunk of the run up to Christmas in tears every year.
I grew up in Germany and over there we clebrate Christmas very differently to here. For one I do not remember it ever being this commercialised. Christmas adverts in September for instance!
Christmas for me, as for most people I dare say is all about family and whilst Tony and I have a wonderful brood of eight, that is it for Christmas, just us. For reasons I cannot go into here, we do not see Tony's parents, Tony's sister does come and see us just before Christmas, armed with toys for the kids - always a highlight for them - and we usually have a phone call from his brother, but really it is just our little family unit.
My parents passed away some time ago, well my dad did. I have not seen my biological mother since I was three, so have no idea whether she still lives. I have no siblings, so to all intents and purposes I'm an orphan and never do I feel this more acutely then at Christmas time.
Growing up, Christmas was a magical time, made special by one truly beautiful lady, my gran or Omi, as I used to call her. We never had much money, but that never mattered, because she always managed to pull the most fantastic food out of nowhere and I always somehow got the presents I really wanted. But it wasn't even about that, it was the way she used to make me feel loved and protected and no matter what trauma went on in my child's or later teenage mind (and there were plenty I tell you, I was a *very* dramatic child!) curling up on her lap, or later sitting by her feet, my head in her lap, just pouring it all out to her, made everything better. She wouldn't always have the answers and sometimes the answers she did have were not what I wanted to hear, but she was a very wise and special lady and if I can be half the mother to my own children that she was to me, then I'll be happy.
Christmas to me will always be the excitment of the Christmas Market, Dortmund has a very good one! The smells, the sounds, the stalls, we never used to buy a lot, but a walk through the Christmas Market always signified the start of Christmas.
Singing Christmas carols very off key, usually, the once a year trip to Church (my gran was an atheist, yet every Christmas we went to church, because that is what you did!) still makes me smile now. Her stories about Christmases gone by, the way she used to lock me out the living room on Christmas Eve and I was only allowed in at 6.00 pm, after the bells announced that Santa had been.
She kept that up right through my teenage years bless her.
The goose or duck we used to have for Christmas day, that left us so stuffed we couldn't move for days and just simply being together. It was a special, special time and try as I might since she passed on, Christmas just hasn't been the same for *me*.
Tony and I have made our traditions with the children of course and they love Christmas, but a little part of me always feels that they are missing out. I like to think that my Omi is watching over us wherever she may be now and I hope I have made her proud. She never met any of the children, passing away the year we got married, but at least she got to meet my mad husband. My decision to move to England was hard on her and I'm not sure she really understood why I had to, but she accepted it nonetheless.
She was a very special lady, so this year, like every year, I will shed a few tears and raise a glass or two to my wonderful Omi.
Frohe Weihnachten Omilein!!!