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My mom was the best at holidays.
At Halloween, she knew how to do the perfect witch makeup with green foundation and a bright red lip. At Easter, our eggs were hidden in all the right places and we never had a Christmas without the traditional English Christmas crackers and paper hats.
But over the last few years, my mom’s health issues have taken a toll and she can’t quite do the holidays like she used to. Somewhere along the majority of the responsibilities were passed over to me and now I’m the one who spends Thanksgiving basting the turkey instead of watching movies on the couch. I always knew the time would come, I just didn’t think it would be so soon. I don’t mind. Minus chopping onions, I like cooking and I’m pretty great at stuffing stockings if I do say so myself. The thing is, my mom had days, even weeks to prepare for the holidays whereas I show up with a suitcase and 24 hours to do the rest.
It’s partly self-inflicted. I’m not sure my brother would care much if our plates didn’t match and I don’t know if my dad would be able to tell the difference between homemade mashed potatoes or the pre-made ones from the local grocer. But I would know. And so would my mom.
So I rush around and I try to make it perfect. I get stressed out and I snap at the people I love. I feel proud when my mom says how much she likes something I’ve made or how nice the table looks. I’m exhausted when it’s all over. I know a beautifully browned turkey isn’t what the holidays are about. I have a firm grasp on the concept that it’s about spending time and making memories with the people you love. But for me, turkeys and Christmas cracker hats and the perfect green witch makeup are my memories.
I don’t know how to make the holidays any easier. I don’t know if it’s time to make a change in our family traditions. I don’t know why I take the whole thing so seriously. I guess I just want things to feel the way they used to be, when my mom was the best at holidays.