Finding Christmas…

moms-card-ksr

When Marcie asked me to do this, and said she wanted “real Advent, real Christmas,” I thought I had just the right memory. Picture a three year old girl covered in chocolate frosting in front of a cake decorated lavishly decorated with sprinkles, strawberries, candles, and of course…a LOT of frosting. (Although I think she was wearing more chocolate than the cake.) Her father and grandmother watched with laughter and delight, while I took pictures, and quickly got ready for work. It was Christmas Eve, and a birthday cake for Jesus was excitedly being prepared. Nonetheless, I thought this picture would surely convey those “real” Advent moments when you have a small half-naked frosting covered child, a dining room that looks like a bakery exploded, your mom visiting, and you are about to be late for work…at the Church…on Christmas Eve. It was a sweet, but slightly harrowing, deep breathing infused, “real life” Advent moment. This was going to be easy. In the midst of New Member classes, the Volunteer Fair, Thanksgiving Brunch, Ministries Council meetings, preparing for the Artisan’s Boutique and Bake Sale, and the Advent Concert, I would find this picture and the blog would write itself. Well…this is real life, right?! Guess who couldn’t find the picture after a week of searching high and low (we can discuss scrapbooking and photo albums another time), and is now past the deadline? …Right. Me.

However, just like Christmas Eve those many years ago…I found something in a place that I never expected to find it. Buried at the bottom of box of loose pictures, I found a card from my mother. Ordinarily this might not seem like much, maybe not even a treasure, but you see my mom was not a very effusive person, at least not in the overtly southern way you’d expect for a woman from Tennessee. My mom was a steel magnolia. Strong, resilient, and cool… perhaps not always as personal, and warm as folks would’ve liked…maybe as I would’ve liked. Now all of a sudden I was holding a card, probably sent not long after the very Christmas I mentioned above, and several Christmases since her death. Just like then, we’re the midst of the busiest season at work, long into the preparations, Advent is looming, and I’m about to be late. Pictures scattered all over the floor this time, not frosting, and powdered sugar. The clock ticking past midnight, and my mom is here once more. As I read the inscription, the tears fell, and the memory came. Not in the form of a picture, but in red ink. My mom didn’t speak effusively, that was not her way, but she did write that way. And there in the middle of the living room floor, long after my bedtime, I found a gift. A real Advent moment. Sometimes Love doesn’t come in the way we expect it or the place, but it comes just the same.

I never did find the picture, but what I did find was far better. Love. The heartfelt words of my mother…just for me.

Shared by Kim Sebastian-Ryan

Published by marciedoll

I have enjoyed working for over 20 years in the education and publishing spaces creating accessible learning environments for all students. My teaching experiences led me into supporting schools in need of improvement and creating and delivering professional development to teachers and leaders. And then I moved into selling educational materials, programs, technology, and services. Most recently, I have been developing content for innovative learning programs in K-12 and museum spaces. For the past 17 years serving on the board of the Collegiate Corporation, I have led initiatives in women's leadership, stewardship, development, virtual strategy, and educational programs for youth and families. Outside of the learning and non-profit spaces, I enjoy blogging about faith and inspiring women. I have a passion for travel, where you might find me exploring national parks, museums, and finding the best local restaurant to eat. I capture my adventures digitally with my camera. My photography has appeared in exhibitions throughout Europe and Australia in 2019 and 2020, on television in the United States, and was chosen from over 100,000 entries to appear in a well-known photography magazine.

4 thoughts on “Finding Christmas…

  1. Oh, Kim, this made me cry! I had so much identification with the searching high and low, thepics all over the floor, the “up past midnight”… For someone who seems so serene and together to share this kind of moment that I and I’m sure many others have experienced too many times, and then the card, a sort of pearl of great price. I will treasure all these images, including the kid dressed in frosting… Thank you, Kim.

  2. So beautifully expressed with such heart. You described how love comes in unexpected ways. You gave a gift to all who read this blog. Thank you.

  3. Kim, when you shared your submission with me for this blog, I was so moved upon reading your words, hearing about the moments, and feeling the love. What a tribute to your Mom.

  4. Kim, thank you. I too am ready to cry, but of joy for you. You did find something sweeter, love in the memory of your mother. Oh may we all find love in unexpected places this season. Xo

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