I never really “got” the importance of family, until Jack arrived. I always just sort of assumed that my family would be around, and rarely thought to treasure my days with them.
Early this morning my Aunt Mary passed away. She’d been fighting a heroic battle against breast cancer for several years now.
My family would go to Ohio every Christmas to see Mary, Mike & Cousin Amy. We’d drive the 8 looong hours from Delaware to Columbus and would arrive on the 23rd. I would sleep in the trundle beside Amy’s bed and the next morning we’d all get dressed to go to Lazurus to buy a Holiday outfit and go to Santa-Land. The visits to Lazurus were the stuff of a David Sedaris short story. Amy and I always ended up with matching outfits, our all-time favorite being a lovely brown and peach number with fluttery sleeves.
Mary was one of my childhood idols. I looked forward to seeing her every year, She was graceful and elegant and so warm. Her home was like this wonderful cocoon of holiday goodness. She was a dancer when I was little, and the reason I took up ballet was because I wanted to be like her. As our families grew apart, my parents divorced, the christmas traditions fell by the wayside but still Mary stayed in touch.
As I sit here with Jack finally home. Finally in my arms, I am sad he didn’t get to meet his Great Aunt Mary. But I feel very, very lucky to have had her in my life.