the places I visit on the island paradise where I live

Dec 25, 2013

Christmas Memories: Then and Now

Driving in the car this morning, Moises shared his regrets for not making it out last night. He had a fever and was in bed by nine. But we went this morning and had a Christmas breakfast with his mom and sister and family. It was lovely. Daisy, my sister-in-law, lovingly prepared the turkey (pavo) and pork (pierna), both totally delicious. We bought the French bread to make sandwiches and grabbed some bags of chips at Bodega Aurrera. We ate a four course breakfast with family, and that is what Moises said too as we drove home, that Christmas is about family. Thinking about it, Christmas is about family and friends who have become like family.

me and my three brothers at Christmas

So I would like to share my Christmas memories with you, my blog readers. In my mind, like snapshots, I think of Christmases past. I remember that my dad liked pork roast on Christmas, not the ham that my grandmother prepared. Christmas was crowded around the antique table for fourteen in my grandma’s little dining room, with the oversized chairs that came from Uncle Joe, my grandmother’s uncle. I remember Uncle Joe’s huge ears and the way his house smelled, like moth balls and faded memories. I remember how my grandma always invited strangers who had nowhere else to go, and my father didn’t like that either, grumbling about why he had to spend Christmas with somebody he didn’t know. Grandma invited them anyway, the widow from down the street, a distant cousin we barely knew. The scents of my grandma’s stuffing, her spaghetti with cheese and the turkey my aunt brought from her house. The cookies and the hugs and all the laughter. I also remember my parents in true Mad Men style, they drank cocktails while Uncle Rich chain smoked cigarettes. I miss those Christmases, but all those relatives are now gone to Heaven, never to be played out again. My mom, dad, grandparents, Uncles Rich and Ron, my mom’s sister Peg. I can hear you playing the piano and singing Christmas carols still, Aunt Peggy.

me at Christmas 18 months

Left are my cousins and Uncle Bud in Ohio, my brother in Tampa, my nieces scattered in England and California, so far away for the holidays. Mom, I will never forget how you decorated the day after Thanksgiving, the hundreds of ornaments and figurines you had, the way you loved Christmas. I remember after Mike (my brother) died, Christmas was never the same. My dad cried every year, but you didn’t, Mommy. Even when the Huntington’s disease left you unable to walk or eat properly, you still loved Christmas … and your family. You never forgot me like your sister did when she got sick.

me and Denise at Christmas 8 years of age

So we missed the big celebration last night, but it is now Christmas Day. So filled with promises and hope, and I truly love the way my husband’s family, a true Yucatecan family, never holds grudges or resentments. We didn’t go last night, but we were welcomed this morning. And I realize something; this is my fourteenth Christmas in Cozumel. So now I have a whole new list of Christmas memories … our first Christmas here when our house was new and our dogs just arrived from the states, the year the rains came so strong we could barely drive down 30th Avenue to get to Daisy’s house, the year my husband went to Merida for the holidays (2011), and I celebrated both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with good friends. But we swore we will never be apart again as long as we can be together, and Moises said that too, that he did spend Christmas with his family last night, me.

I remember every year on Cozumel Island as a year having a whole new family to love and care for. I do regret not being able to stop at a friend’s Open House last night or seeing the baby at her first Christmas,  but there will always be next year, and my continuing new Christmas memories of Cozumel.

Merry Christmas to all!

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