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Wish You Were Here

December 18, 2011

Dear Mom,

Scooby did so well this week. I was worried that the shirt and pants would be too big on that scrawny frame, but everything fit perfectly and he performed like a champ. Hand-chimes this year, and then a rousing rendition of the Merry Merengue that he introduced with panache. He was one of the leading roles in the Christmas musical and was more afraid than he’s ever been before, but he pulled it together and he was amazing.

I wish you were here.

Scrappy did his own deal Tuesday night. He was quite puffed up with pride in his new duds, twisting and jiving to Rock ‘N Roll Santa Claus and he didn’t bite his nails or fall off the risers, not once.

I wish you were here.

Tomorrow I’m hosting the class Christmas party. I still don’t know what I’m doing but I hope the kids have fun. It would be great to have your help keeping the kids from diving into the chocolate fountain. It’s so Willy Wonka.

The trees look so nice. Your fingerprints. like fairy dust, lay all over this tree.ย I found all four of the ornaments we bought at the Blacksburg Craft Fair, and the ones you made when you were newly-wed. Your dishes, your vases, and the wooden cranberries wound around our pine – all of it is you. Yet it isn’t. You’re not here.

I almost went out and bought a bottle of Cover Girl Clean Make Up just so that I could smell you. Something familiar. Something closer than just a memory.

I wear your corduroy coat and I think of you wearing it and that, at least, is something.

I wish you were here.

I try to recreate the traditions we had, but these wild boys are so different. They aren’t content to sit and read by the fire with me, or decorate the tree as Bing and Frank sing. We start out with the best intentions and end up in a tangle of arms and legs and boy-ness all over the floor.

I understand now, what you told me, about wanting a daughter. How much it meant to you after five years as a boy-mom to finally have a girl. A girl-friend, ready-made. Someone to shop with, to lunch with, someone with whom to walk up and down the streets and just look in windows with.

you and me, you and me babe

arm and arm naturally, baaaaaby

I wish you were here. I unpack the treasures of this season that you once held in your very hands I ache with loss. I ache for memories that are becoming so ethereal, I can barely hang on. I can’t bear to lose them, yet I can’t seem to draw them any closer.

I am used to the tears mixing with the laughter now. It is part of every season. Every moment that is full and perfect has a flaw – the fragment of you that should be there – and isn’t.

I wish you were here.

Can you see us? Can you see how your dreams for me were fulfilled, that I am blessed and happy and married to a wonderful man? Can you see these wild boys of mine and love them as your own flesh ad blood and see in them bits of me that once was? Do they remind you of me, in my wild tom-boy days, when I played “with gusto” on the preschool playground, one pigtail up, one pigtail down?

Did we make you crazy? Did you want to duct tape us together inside a closet or am I a terrible mother? How did you appear so placid, so serene when we fought like brats and shrill voices echoed through the stairway? When he bloodied my nose, when I tattled for the 4,000th time…

Did you ache with a love so deep and so wide that it was unfathomable the first time you breathed in our hair and nuzzled our cheek? Did you hold us in your arms and weep with the enormity of it all? Did you dream of what we would be, and fear for how we might fail, and agonize over every fault, as if it were your own?

I wish I knew. I wish I knew more stories, more connections – I wish you were here to tell me what Grama would have said about that, and how your mother handled it. What to do about the gravy, and why the cranberry sauce isn’t right.

One hour, one minute with you…and all I would ask is this. “Am I doing ok? Are you proud of me? Is this what you wanted?” One answer and it would be enough.

I wish you were here.

Merry Christmas, Mom.

I wish you were here.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Bethany Fitelson permalink
    December 18, 2011 11:20 pm

    This made me cry in so many ways: for your loss and that I wish it weren’t that way, with gratitude for my own mom and our Christmas traditions, with hopes and dreams as a new mom on my daughter’s first Christmas. This was beautiful, and possibly the most vulnerable you’ve ever been. Thank you for sharing this beautiful sentiment. I didn’t know your mom much, but I know very well who she was, and she would be bursting with pride in who you are, who you married, and your amazing boys. Love you, and merry Christmas!

  2. Lisa permalink
    December 19, 2011 5:32 am

    Adelle your mom would be so proud of you because despite everything in your crazy boy mom world, your heart and life are centered on Christ. You can’t ask for anything else as a mom. You give your children roots and then wings and pray they don’t stray from what you know as truth. I am sure she looks down with such love and adoration for your sweet family. Keep her traditions in your heart and meld them with your own. I miss her too! I’d have love to have had her in my life now while I have tons of time to shop!

  3. December 19, 2011 6:34 am

    that answer lives sweetly in your heart.

  4. December 19, 2011 9:48 am

    Wow, way to make a girl cry first thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. December 19, 2011 7:13 pm

    Speaking as one who loves you like you were my daughter I think she would take the words you used trying to describe the love you feel- unfathomable, deep and wide, and add “oh, yes! Exactly! It is an ache, a wonderful ache laced with much pride and intense joy. This love I have for these grandsons is all the more fun and sweeter as I watch you as their mother and see you and Gabe as parents. Adelle, if I had a daughter, I would be so honored to know she treasured and used things I myself had selected, treasured and used. This loving tribute you wrote is no doubt an example of what God had in mind when He told us “Honor thy mother and father”. She is here, my dear, in you. Much love to all of you, Pat

  6. December 22, 2011 11:16 am

    This made my eyes mist up, Adelle ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so true what you said: “Every moment that is full and perfect has a flaw โ€“ the fragment of you that should be there โ€“ and isnโ€™t.” All we can really say, over and over, is “I wish you were here.” And yet life has so much joy, especially at the holidays. I think wooden cranberries and corduroy coats help us keep them close, keep their memories clear. And our joy honors them.


  1. Not So Very Merry | Adelle Gabrielson

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