by The Finn
I woke up about an hour late this morning, partially due to the fact that I’ve been sick and partially due to the fact that the baby woke up last night at about three and ended up sleeping with us. He has a tendency to spread out, so I spent most of the night getting punched in the face and kicked in the ribs while he tried to get comfortable. After flying out of bed and throwing on some pants, I came downstairs and grabbed a cup of coffee. But for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why I kept smelling banana bread. And then, halfway through my cuppa and a smoke in the backyard, I started to remember the dream I’d been having before my eyes popped open. I’d been home for Christmas.
There are times when I miss being around the family during the holidays. They were always a big deal to my mom and she’d always get the family into the spirit. Decorating, music, you know, the works. But Christmas was always the worst. Because for my mom, Christmas started on Thanksgiving. Almost immediately after the meal.
Once we were done eating and full of tryptophan goodness mom would always turn on the stereo and start in on the pile of Christmas tapes that had been carefully placed there since the day after Halloween. She’d go thorough them all, before the holiday was actually upon us, several times over. And, more than once, they’d drive me to the back of the house, to my room and my own stack of tapes. I know she didn’t do it to make me crazy, she just enjoyed Christmas music a damn sight more than I did, which is to say she enjoyed it.
But the big day, was something else entirely. She could play all the crap music she wanted, just so long as she cooked. Most weekends, I’d wake to the smell of pancakes or banana bread and fresh brewed coffee. Stumbling out of my room, Dustin (one of many dogs in the house) trailing behind me, stretching and yawning, the two of us. Walking down that long, long hallway, knowing that at the end of it, there’d be coffee, a great breakfast and a kiss on the cheek from the Momma-san. We’d all go our separate ways after breakfast, but for those few minutes, we acted like a “family”.
Christmas morning was a little different. Every year, on Christmas Eve, all the kids would sleep in one room. The dogs would usually sleep with us, and we all made each other a promise. The first one up would check the time and wake the rest of the kids. As long as it was after six, the time the old man had designated as the earliest he was getting up on a day he didn’t have to, we were cool. Every year, it was my baby brother who was up first, and he’d wake us all. There’d be presents and laughs and my parents taking more pictures than should be legal. And then we’d all head to the kitchen.
You see, breakfast on Christmas was a group effort. Mom would have taken care of all the prep work the night before. And we’d all gather in the kitchen, with Mom acting as the supervisor, and we’d make breakfast and goof around and laugh. After a hearty meal, we’d clean up the wrappings and the dishes and laze about in the midst of another food coma, listening to Mom quietly sing Christmas carols under her breath while she did cross stitch. And that's the thing I remember most, her singing quietly while we all drifted off to sleep.
thefinn still has dreams about his Mom's banana bread. Archives