Blanchie and I have always been close, even in some of the worst of the worst of times. We always were particularly close during the holidays. Today, I realized that it's been 11 years since I've had a Mary Christmas (intentional use of Mary since it's Blanchie's first name) because I've been living in Colorado.
I'm pretty sure that, aside from shopping for each other, we did all of our Christmas shopping together. We were on the same wavelength when it came to shopping. There wasn't really any roaming aimlessly hoping for a gift idea. We knew what we were looking for and we were on a mission to go get it and be done. Then the gift wrapping would take place on my parents' bed. She taught me to wrap and how to curl ribbon with the edge of a scissors.
Every year we, along with my Aunt Kathy, would go to a boutique at a local artists' home. It had the most amazing Christmas decorations from around the world. After a bit of shopping, the three of us would then go to lunch. It was tradition.
There were the afternoons of baking. She was the dough roller and cookie cutter. I was the decorator. Now, I love Shawn and Conner, but playing my Mom's role in baking is not my favorite thing. I don't have dough rolling skills up to par with her.
Then, there's Johnny Mathis. He performs the soundtrack for Christmas decorating at my parents' house. I have his Christmas albums along with several others on my iTunes. I confess that this year, I was grouchy about hearing Johnny Mathis, but usually he helps around here.
Now, my Dad taught me the fine art of greeting card shopping and sending. He and I are both Platinum Level Hallmark Gold Crown Members. But, the actual shopping for cards is where my Mom comes into play. We were the best at finding the funniest stuff...we both have probably peed a little at one point or another.
Finally, not really because there is so much more I could say about Blanchie, but for now, this is the end. My Mom was always involved in something charitable. She was part of the social justice committee and the St. Vincent de Paul Society at her Church. Gifts and food for the needy were a big focus. She and my Dad taught me generosity all year round, but Christmas had that added bit to it.
I love you, my Mary Christmas.