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  • by Carolyn Lackey

Five More Sleeps

Meems was asleep when I visited yesterday. As I quietly lowered the bedrail so that I could sit on the bed next to her, her eyes opened slowly.

"Are you Carolyn?" she whispered.

"Yes, Mom, it's me," I replied settling in next to her while gently patting her bony thigh.

"You forgot to come get me for Christmas breakfast."

My heart panged. It was the same pang I felt the time I forgot to pick up Reed from preschool. I was busy running errands and disremembered that I had a third son who happened to be a 3-year-old preschooler. To this day, he teases me about "The Day My Mom Abandoned Me at Preschool." Pang. Pangety. Pang-pang.

"Mom, today isn't Christmas!" I blurted feeling the need to defend my unintended absence.

"How do you know it's not?" she calmly asked. She wasn't scolding me. She was just stating her truth in question form.

Good question. It gave me pause. Did I forget Christmas? After all, I am my mother's daughter.

"Because, Christmas isn't until next Monday," I explained to the both of us.

"When is that?"

I held up my hand and began to point to my fingers "counting off" the days.

"Today is Tuesday, then there's Wednesday, Thursday, Friday - that's when Jonathan and Reed get here - Saturday, Sunday and then, Monday it's Christmas!" I said holding the thumb of my other hand. The thumb that represented gingerbread pancakes and the birth of Jesus Christ.

"Oh. So today isn't Christmas. I guess I didn't miss breakfast. That's what they kept telling me this morning."

Another pang. She must have told her caregivers that she didn't need her eggs over easy with bacon that morning because she was saving her appetite for gingerbread pancakes.

"Three choirs sang to me today," she said as her mind meandered down it's merry narrow path.

"Three choirs?!" I moseyed over to the activities calendar that was taped to her very empty "dorm" refrigerator. Sure enough. She heard a choir that morning. Just one. It was an actual real life choir not three choruses of angels beckoning her to follow them. I never know until I check the calendar.

"The girls wore long dresses. Wasn't that nice of them?"

"Yes, Meems, that was very, very nice."

Now that her world is the size of the smallest room at Wedgewood South and her sleepy days seem to be fleeting, I feel the need to make all of her dreams come true. And, I thank heaven for choir girls in long dresses and the caregivers that gently explained why she wasn't going to be loaded into the handicapped-accessible van for the short trip to my house for pancakes that morning.

Missy Meems, as of this morning, there are only five more sleeps 'til Christmas. The loyal caregivers who will come to work bright and early that morning will bundle you up all warm and cozy, and the always friendly van driver will roll you outside onto the vehicle's hydraulic lift which will ease you up to your parking spot in the van. Five minutes later, you'll see our whole family standing on my front porch exclaiming, "Meems is here! Merry Christmas, Meems!" And, there will be gingerbread pancakes. Piles and piles of gingerbread pancakes.

This will be Meems second Christmas celebration this year. It's a long story.

Merry Christmas to you and yours from Meems and me!

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