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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gus Gus And Me: A Christmas Love Story

It was Christmastime and I was home from college. Mom suggested we run some errands and maybe do a little bit of Christmas shopping, and I was bored, so off we went.

Around lunchtime, we decided to stop in at McDonald's since it was close by. 

This is the shameful part where I tell you that I hadn't spent that many hours alone with my mother in years. I was a senior in college, and other than a few days here and there when the dorms were closed, I didn't visit home much. I loved my parents, but I honestly didn't want to live with them anymore.

My mother's only fault in this wasn't much of a fault when you think about it. She loved me too much. She was always trying too hard, overdoing, overprotecting, over-worrying to the point where it was cloying and restrictive and made me want nothing more than to be free of her. I loved her, but I loved her in small doses.

But that day....something clicked. We were having fun. She was relaxed, and just enjoying me being home, and as a consequence, I was enjoying hanging out with my mom. We got up to the counter to order, and lo and behold, they were giving out Cinderella character ornaments with the happy meals. My mom loved that movie, and the little mouse, Gus Gus, was one of her all-time favorite characters.

I ordered a happy meal, and even gave the girl at the counter a bit of a hard time until she dug in a bin and found me a Gus Gus toy, which I then gifted to my mother, who oooh and aaahed and swore to me he'd always have a home on her tree.

Then we laughed and talked and dunked french fries and when we got home, she hung him on a branch and pronounced this to be a perfect Christmas.

And thirteen years later, a few days after Christmas, I pulled Gus Gus off the tree.

"Can I keep him?" I asked Dad.

"Sure. Take whatever you want," Dad said. "I won't be putting up a tree anymore, I think."

I suppose that's hard to do when your wife of forty-five years dies at Christmas. So I took Gus Gus with me, and last night, I hung him on my tree, and just like most years, I started crying, and then smiling as I remembered stealing each other's fries and laughing so hard I coughed up my soda. 

Gus may not be much, but he's a part of her and a part of me and a part of that day and all the memories that go with it. It's the little things, they always say.

And they're right.

1 comment:

  1. A Beautiful way to Remember and Cherish memories of Mom.