Day 1: S is for Star

There are a couple of reasons this particular memory comes to mind today. It’s the first day of Advent, which means the family Christmas traditions are in full swing. Yesterday, my boyfriend told me all about his family’s holiday season rituals. It brought a bittersweet smile to my face and took me back to a certain Espiritu family tradition that my Momma upheld amidst all that was going on around her. 

Momma ignited and fueled her daughters’ love for reading. She always had new books for us to explore. The Christmas season was no exception. Every year, she’d carefully wrap up a series of Christmas books. Some were classics; some were brand new additions to the collection. She’d label them 1-25, and each day of December the sisters would tear through the paper to reveal the cover, open it up, and read it aloud. 

I have a picture in my head of my sister, Priscilla and I opening up the first book of the 2009 Christmas season while outside a hospital room. The other sisters must have been at school. Momma told Priscilla to read the book to me while we waited patiently for her and Dad to be done. We tore away the festive wrapping and began to read: S Is For Star

Looking back on this memory ten years later, it occurs to me that while this was happening, my parents were most likely receiving the worst news of their lives. I’ve learned from my sister, Grace, that on November 30th, Momma had collapsed in the middle of Kroger and had to be hospitalized. While I can’t know for certain, I can only guess that perhaps that first day of Advent, while two little girls were happily reading season’s greetings, the doctors were telling my Momma that she had some form of cancer, and that it would be a miracle if she lived to see the next three months. I can only imagine the strength it took for her to walk out of that room to see her two youngest daughters sitting and reading with smiles on their faces, full of life and oblivious to the fact that the life was being drained from their loving mother standing above them.

~ by Sara Espiritu on December 1, 2019.

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