This year, the MLN decided to include memories from each staff member in our Holiday insert. Coincidentally, this may be the most memorable Christmas for my daughter and me, as it is the first one without my mom.
Thinking of the 33 Christmases that I shared with my mom, there isn’t one that stands out as any better than the others, so I decided to touch on a few of them instead.
Since my brother and his family lived in California, there were many times when we had several Christmases in one year.
Like the Christmas we had in 1992 and 1993, where we had so much snow in our place in Oregon that we spent a lot of time trying to get more firewood to keep our pipes from freezing. I believe it was that year that we reached a frigid temperature of -40 degrees and managed to replace the piping in our older bathroom. However, we also took a timeout when family came to town and we used our three-wheeler to drive down the snow-covered dirt roads with sleds being towed behind it.
I remember the Christmas of 2002 when my daughter was just six months old. I was so excited and bought way too many gifts for her to open. Silly me to think that at such a young age she would last through a mountain of presents. Nope, she didn’t make it. Instead, she fell asleep in my lap about halfway through, exhausted from the overstimulation of all of the people and all of the presents all at once. Thankfully, that was the one and only time she fell asleep during the excitement.
Then there was the Christmas that almost didn’t happen. Due to the weather between California and Oregon along Highway 97, my brother and his family decided that they weren’t going to be able to make it. They had reached Klamath Falls, the halfway point between our place and theirs, and the road conditions were just too much to chance.
My mom was certainly more disappointed, as we had secretly planned to also include a birthday party for my niece and my brother, and had already set things up. After a short deliberation, my brother and his family decided to trek the rest of the way and showed up safely, restoring the happiness to all of us for another holiday together.
The next extremely memorable Christmas came just five years ago here in Mesquite. I had been with the MLN for just four short months when the rains came, bringing in the latest ‘100 year flood’ forcing us to work overtime documenting the rise of the Virgin River.
I vividly remember sitting in our office and talking with Morris Workman, who was our editor, reviewing the photos taken at the Riverside Road Bridge. It was a photo of then-Mayor Susan Holecheck gazing out across the river in one of her animal print coats. That day we dubbed her as Flood Watch Barbie. It fit so well with the photo.
My final Christmas memory comes from just last year, December 2014. Little did I know it would be the final one with my mom, but I remember we were all so very happy. Being a tough person to shop for, I knew there was truly only one thing I could buy her that she would appreciate and use every day.
Yes, it sounds silly, but with as much cooking as my mom did in the kitchen, it was an essential necessity that she needed all the time. It was the last photo I took of her that she truly looked happy. At that point, we didn’t know how sick she was and that her time was limited. The evidence of the cancer that she had been carrying for nearly five years didn’t show at that point. It was a great day.
This year, my daughter and I aren’t necessarily celebrating Christmas but it will still go down in the books for being memorable. It’s been an incredibly difficult year, but a lot of positive things have also happened. Nearly balanced, you might say.
I look forward to 2016 and enjoying the healing as it comes and creating new traditions that will bring more memories for many years for my daughter to pass on to her future family.