I have given so much thought lately to the stages of life. I guess that begins to happen as we move through them , moving closer to the end stages. For almost a year I was blessed with weekly visits with Gladys. Each time I came away I was filled with gratitude for my current stage while at the same time so aware of the stages that have passed. In hearing her stories I relived my own. I have been busy getting my home prepared for Christmas and sometimes a fleeting question of why I bother creeps in. I will have some company over the holidays but my home is no longer the bustling center of Christmas for my kids. My across the road grandchildren will be in but my granddaughters out west will not have memories of Monkey’s house at Christmastime. So sometimes I wonder why I bother . I woke up this morning knowing exactly why. Each moment of Christmas 2019 holds every other previous Christmas. Each twinkling light fills my heart with the joy of all that has been. I miss my mother and this morning I reflect on the mother I miss. I miss the mother who went to all the trouble to create Christmas for us. I miss her scotch cookies (even though I always picked off the cherry) I miss her mincemeat ( no other mincemeat will do) I miss her dining room table, her dressing, her excitement, her joy(and stress) in doing it all. I miss my father. I miss Red Wrap. I miss him trimming the tree each icicle placed individually and every ornament just so. I miss his generous surprises (like sewing machines and snowmobiles) I miss him carrying our stockings up stairs while we all pile in our parent’s bed. I miss arriving at my parent’s house with my own kids knowing we would be treated royally and with such love. I miss my Mom with her feet stretched out on the couch finally relaxing after the marathon of making Christmas happen.I miss the mom who surprised me on my 40th birthday (which is Boxing Day) with balloons on the railing and a drop in of friends. I miss the mom who always made me a birthday cake in the midst of all her Christmas cooking.I miss my little kids, each stage and each precious year. I miss the frenzy and the hectic pace and the anticipation. It is for that I spend hours placing each decoration and adding more twinkling lights. It is for the quiet moments in my warm and comfortable home that take me back to each of the stages that have passed and the loved ones I miss. And for Christmas 2019 I give thanks.