My mom died in the fall when my boys were young. Shortly before Christmas, my dad closed out one of her bank accounts and split it between my brothers and sisters and me. As a stay-at-home-mom, I didn't always have extra cash to spend, so I hemmed and hawed about what to do with it. The practical side of me said to put it in the bank ... the frivolous side said to blow it on something fun. What to do what to do.
My friend, Fay, had been listening to me struggling with this for a few weeks. And she also knew there was something I wanted. Department 56 had come out with the North Pole series of houses and I just loved them. Fay gave me an option that would let me have my cake and eat it too ... what a great pal!!
Fay suggested that I spend half of it on the North Pole houses and bank the rest. Her reasoning was that I'd be able to have something special to remember my mom and still have some $$$ left over for a rainy day. And just to make sure I'd do it, she sweetened the deal. She told me that if I did, she'd come over while we were at church on Christmas Eve and set up the village for me. How could I resist?
So while we were at St Mary's and I was trying to keep those three boys occupied during such a long long Mass, Fay and her family were playing Santa for me. When they left, they lit up the village and turned on the lights for our tree.
I'll never forget the look on Rob and Alex's faces when they came through the door ... the magic of it all! Teddy caught up in the excitement but not quite sure how special it was as he was only 18 months old. And Bob ... no idea what I had planned which was so very very fun for me.
We've added to the village over the years and Bob puts it out in different places each year. And as with any Christmas, there are memories. My favorites are of Teddy at three four and five very sure that the elves really were inside those houses making toys. And Rob and Alex remembering the night and talking about it as they got older. Tomorrow, it'll be my sisters' grandkids peeking in the windows and looking at the little people, caught up in the magic of the season.
For me, though, it'll always be about Fay and my mom. Fay died of cancer a few years later. And the rest of the $$$ I banked? It was put to good use as it was the seed money I needed to start Rosebud's Cottage.