Albert and Lorene’s Children
Just like it was yesterday, I remember the snow glistening early Christmas morning. It was before 7 A.M. and since we had already opened up our presents at home it was time to cross the street and see what Grandma Cates, Uncle Bill, and Aunt Elinor had for us too. I lied to mom and said I saw lights and movement. Who did I think I was fooling? I was willing to take a chance; for as long as I could remember you really didn’t get in trouble during Christmas break, unless you did something really bad. In a few hours we’d all be at 1240 Nebraska Avenue with our big fabulous family. Relatives would travel from all over to spend a few days with the Cates Matriarch. I did not realize how amazing it was to be in the same house with so many people who were so closely connected. I did know it was fun.
In the years that followed we would give up the snow and cold for short sleeves and sunshine of California. We spent years with my mother’s mom now. Her family was equally large, but the connection was different they were not as close. My dad still loved Christmas; from the horrible sugary sweets he loved to purchase at Sears in downtown Inglewood to the outdoor lights he could never decide on which color he preferred. Mom always looked at the clean-up. As their offspring we gravitated toward dad’s preference. The older we got the less compelled mom was to decorate. Somehow we always managed to convince her we’d help clean up “this time”.
We lost dad almost 29 years ago, mom left us this past October. Like the song says,” Christmas Won’t Be The Same This Year”. We are left with our memories and our hearts are filled with sadness because we miss our Mom and Dad. As an adult you don’t think of being orphaned, but it happens just the same. In our adult bodies, our child minds look for the two people who could advise and guide us through this trauma, but they are nowhere to be found. People tell you reassuring comforting things, but you are NOT reassured nor are you comforted. We are children sitting on the sofa in age order waiting for Mom and Dad to walk through that door and make everything alright again.