I went back home a month ago and during a nightly “check-in” call to my husband and kids, he mentioned asking my mom to come stay with us over Christmas. I immediately brushed it off and forgot because I assumed that she would decline the offer. A year ago my brother had offered to pay her way to fly out with him and his wife and daughter but my mom turned him down. She said something about “air travel being too crazy” or “not feeling up to it”. Some excuse, any excuse would do. Anyway, upon my return to the East Valley, I remembered to ask her about coming out here on one of our daily morning chats as I drive to work. To my surprise, she perked up when I mentioned it and quickly accepted the offer.
Since then I have purchased her airline ticket and started planning activities to show her more of the Valley of the Sun. My kids have declared which restaurants she has to try—most have opened since her last visit. I am hoping we can go visit some of my favorite museums and maybe take her on her first light rail adventure though my husband thinks it’s a bad idea. We have bought new furniture to replace items we had given away such as a sleeper sofa to replace the bed that used to occupy the guest room.
In the midst of my preparations and planning, I began to feel guilty. Why? Mostly because having my mom here means that her youngest granddaughter will miss her on Christmas Day. See, my mom and my niece have a really close bond. My mom babysat Baby Girl every Thursday from the time she was about a year old until three years ago when my mom had a stroke. Even when my mom was working 40-60 hour weeks, she always kept her Thursdays free for Baby Girl. Since the stroke, my mom has recovered very well and has resumed babysitting Baby Girl when my niece is ill or there is a school holiday. When Baby Girl calls the night before to invite her, my mom will go have lunch with her at school. My niece will have her other grandmother present on Christmas Day but I know it will not be the same. Baby Girl favors my mom and looks to her for unconditional support.
So, while I feel guilty for taking my mom away from my brother and niece for the holidays, I am also thrilled that my kids will get to spend three weeks with her. It has been a few years since they’ve seen her. I know she will enjoy being here and being able to walk outside without a winter coat. She will enjoy laughing when my kids are being a tad inappropriate or loud; things she would never have found funny if my brother or I had done or said, but that’s another post.
I will keep my niece in mind. I will make sure we send an awesome care package filled with Christmas presents and homemade Christmas treats. My niece loves receiving her own mail. On Christmas Day, we will FaceTime as we do most holidays. Though it will not be the same as being there with her, it is what it is; the best we can do.