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Christmas Countdown 2021 Day 18 <3

Meet Nell. 

My mom. 

While I tended to wear basic black when tending to our children’s Christmas parties so as not to look conforming nor gaudy…my mom had a collection of holiday socks that she wore over her nylons from Thanksgiving onward to Christmas Day. 

The infamous hand crocheted vest served her well for both Christmas and St. Patty’s Day and yes…she had a few shamrock socks for that occasion..and Halloween…and thankfully she could mix things up with her red crocheted vest for Valentines Day and when the Louisville Cardinals…St. Louis cardinals and Cincinnati Reds had a game. 

She loved all things holiday. 

She crafted before Pinterest was even a glint in the grandparent’s eye of some mogul of social media. 

With construction paper and rubber cement and a stack of black and white prints of our family’s picture that year, she made an enormous amount of cards to send at our kitchen table. 

My sister and I had matching white felt circle skirts that she made appliqués for both Christmas and Valentine’s Day. She would stitch them on and then remove them. As we grew, new circle skirts would be cut to size. 



I read a meme this year that said, 

“It turns out all the Christmas magic from

my childhood was really just a mom

who loved me so much.”


That was my mom. 

All the decorations, baking, special meals, staying up late sewing a gift, wrapping…all of it was her love expressed through her hands of service.

She came to live in our town when my dad’s Alzheimers nearly took her out in 2003. Like so many, they had not realized how bad he was and how much it was taking out of her as she cared for him and her sister who had dementia. 

Broken mentally, physically and emotionally we brought her here along with my very confused and angry father and my very confused and docile aunt.

The one who could talk for an hour without taking a breath.

Dementia did not put a damper on her gift. 

As my mother slowly recovered and the reality that we would have to be moving them into facilities here in our area sunk in, she whispered to me she realized she had left me with a mess and she was sorry, but good luck with that. 

Thus began a process of closing out two houses long distance, navigating health care for three seniors and bringing a complete overhaul to our family of five.

Thankfully mom could live independently and we got her a place at a lovely home for seniors, while I moved my dad and aunt into various facilities and dealt with both nursing homes and teens at home.

My mom made friends like crazy, helped the staff set the tables and clear for their meals in the lovely dining room, found a church she liked and started working in the office to help with newsletter printing and distribution. 

God mended a kind of dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship and gave me five years with a mom I had never had. 

So yeah. 

We hang this photograph on the tree to remember her spunky little self and our kind and loving God who redeems what is broken in this world. 

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