It is Christmas and I miss home. Not the house we live in. Not even a specific house. I have lived in so many houses I’ve lost count.
But I’m aching for home. Nostalgic for Christmas Eve with my mother there. How she managed to deck out the house, spread out a feast and bestow us Christmas without a fuss, I don’t know. But there she was, every year, at 7:00 PM, meeting guests by the door, graceful, smiling.
Now I have a family of my own and a table to dress up yet I could barely make it to 7:00, graceful. Or smiling. But there she was, every year without fail: the lavish banquet, lit candles, flowers in vases, the children in matching red garb, and perfect magical gifts under the tree. All I had to do then was buy the booze and pick a playlist. Eat, drink and be merry.
Every year hence it’s been the same lingering feeling at Christmas. Of something amiss. Of pinning for something that was once there and then perhaps never again. And I know am missing home. Three loony brothers and even the son of our nanny. They would produce and star in a video, so we can watch it before midnight. My little sister, in her satin dress and ruby red shoes. My aunt who would turn up with a plate of chili prawns and all the love in the world. The neighbours and my best friend, their potato salad and that last YMCA dance we did together. My cousins, playing bingo, waiting for midnight, Tequila shots, and sitting around the Narra table. And my mom, those arms that took everyone in, and kept them together. As though our house lit up with a glow when she lighted our candles. As though we only remembered to dance when she played her music.
My home is now all decked out in Christmas red. Except that it has been twelve years and there hasn’t been any mother greeting us at the door at 7:00 PM. And we have all spent Christmas in different homes, struggling to dress up the table, light the candles, and adorn the tree. Early on I made an effort to dress up the children in satin and ruby shoes. And in every house since, I’ve attempted to “eat, drink and be merry.” Like mom.
It’s that time of the year again. I yearn for home. Perhaps the fates would allow us Christmas again someday. But this year, I thought I’d bare my soul and tell mommy we miss her this year, and ever year since 2002.